Jay Flanagan's Story: Saved in a Heartbeat

A numbing sense of shock set in when Hanover resident Jay Flanagan awoke to lights over his head in an ambulance.

At 58-years-old, the always-active business owner and father of two adult children could never have imagined he would be fighting for his life on the way to South Shore Hospital.

“I don’t remember fear, but I remember thinking—I may die,” Jay recalls of the day he had a massive heart attack.

Fortunately, a mom on her way to soccer practice saw Jay collapse to the ground, knew something wasn’t right, and immediately called 911 for assistance while another valiant bystander began CPR. While in transport to South Shore Hospital’s Level II Trauma Center, Hanover EMTs communicated with the hospital trauma team. “Before Jay arrived, we knew everything about what had occurred with him and were able to prepare the cardiac catheterization team in advance,” said Jason Tracy, MD, chair of emergency medicine at South Shore Hospital.

Debbie Flanagan, Jay’s wife of 34 years and his daughter, Amanda, will never forget their agonizing drive to the hospital. Not sure what state they would find him in, every moment seemed to assume unimaginable importance.

“I couldn’t help but think of worst case scenarios, all while hoping that everything was okay,” Amanda said. “I just needed to know that he would be alive and there to walk me down the aisle.”

Upon arrival, Debbie and Amanda’s spirits immediately lifted—they found Jay surrounded by a team of clinicians, prepping to take him to the Cath lab, where they were able to open up a blocked artery and restore blood flow.

“The cardiologist, Dr. (Adam) Zucker ran through what was going on and what they were going to do in a very clear way that I could understand, and suddenly all my fear went away,” Debbie said.

Jay was transferred from the Cardiac Cath Lab to the Critical Care Unit (CCU) to be monitored and stabilized. Because an entire community came together as one to save his life, making it possible to walk his daughter down the aisle, Jay Flanagan—a generous, long-time supporter of South Shore Health— was inspired to honor his entire team of caregivers by making a donation to South Shore Health System Foundation to help fund the new  Richard and Joann Aubut Critical Care Unit, a 24-bed state-of-the-art  patient- and family-centered unit, providing a level of care unavailable elsewhere in our region.

“There were a lot of stars that lined up that day,” Jay said. “I truly feel blessed that I’m here.”