Bill Verrier's Story: It Can Happen in a Heartbeat

One second, Bill Verrier, who works in Engineering Services at South Shore Hospital, was racing to the Hospital’s dining room, to sell M&Ms to support his favorite charitable program, the Walk for Hospice. The next, he was laid out on the dining hall floor from a heart attack with a second one on the way.

One of the worst possible things happened to Bill on Feb. 27, 2016, at age 57, but thankfully, it happened in one of the best possible places. Bill suffered his two heart attacks in South Shore Hospital’s dining hall, surrounded by skilled doctors and nurses who save lives every single day.

“I came up here to the cafeteria and sat down,” Bill said. “I wasn’t feeling great, my heart was palpitating. Then I passed out. I was unresponsive, people immediately started working on me. They closed the doors of the dining hall.”

Because his heart attack occurred at the home of a world-class cardiovascular center, he received CPR within seconds, defibrillator treatment within a few more, and then found himself on a stretcher in an elevator headed to the cardiac catheterization lab within minutes.

Tim Quigley, Chief Nursing Officer, Matthew Weiss, M.D., Critical Care Medicine, and Alison Gustafson, M.D., Anesthesiology, were among the caregivers who responded immediately to treat Bill. In the cath lab, Adam Zucker, M.D., placed two stents in Bill’s blocked artery to restore blood flow. Bill started to feel better right away and he returned home after a few days.

Because he received exceptional care so quickly, there was little structural damage to his heart and he has made a full recovery. “I walk three or four miles per day now,” he said, “and no more Oreos.”

“If it weren’t for the incredible doctors and nurses who just happened to be eating lunch at that very moment, my family’s world would have been turned upside-down,” said Bill’s son Shawn. “The attacks were severe enough that if he were anywhere else, we would have lost him.”

Bill was back in time to participate in last year’s Walk for Hospice to support Hospice of the South Shore. He will be at the South Shore Plaza again on March 18, for the 26th annual Walk for Hospice. “I started getting involved years ago,” he said. “Even if you don’t have money to donate, you can help give back in other ways, such as volunteering.”

Bill praises the close-knit team of colleagues at South Shore Hospital. “This is a place of work, but it’s really like a family,” he said. “There are very talented people working here. People at South Shore Hospital save lives every day. They saved mine.”