By Alicia Neaves
ODESSA - An Odessa man was given a second chance at life. He considers it a miracle. Now, he and his family want to inspire others to not make the same mistakes.
It was August 9, 2012, when Ruben Serrano was given permission to leave work early after experiencing sharp chest pains. On the way home, he died of a heart attack while waiting at a stoplight.
As fate would have it, he survived after resuscitation.
Now, he wants to share his story with others, so hopefully they'll think twice before getting behind the wheel under these circumstances.
"This totally changes your life," Ruben said.
It wasn't his time to go.
"Anyone who sees me, they say this is a miracle," Ruben said.
Ruben was a daily smoker and had a drink or two on occasion. In 2012, his health landed him in Medical Center Hospital.
"He was in ICU. He was asleep, he was swollen. It was somebody else," Ruben's daughter, Saray Serrano, said.
MCH says over 60% of emergency heart attacks go to their hospital via private vehicle.
"They think, 'Oh, it's not that bad. I can get there. I don't wanna bother anyone.' It's really, really important in this case that you bother someone because something bad could happen to you. Something bad could happen to someone else," Brenda Neckels, Divisional Director of the Center for Heart Disease at MCH, said.
MCH advises if you're having symptoms of a heart attack like chest pain, or breaking out into a sweat, if you don't call 911 ASAP, it could cost you your life.
"Time is muscle. That's the mantra of cath labs everywhere. The longer it takes, the more muscle dies," Neckels said.
Since his heart attack, Ruben made major changes to his lifestyle.
"I stopped drinking, smoking, I started exercising, eating healthy, I try to not eat greasy foods," Ruben said.
The family says they're blessed because not every patient is this lucky.
"If you're not feeling good, if you have a pain, this little, tiny pain, it doesn't matter. Don't stay by yourself. Call 911 and get a hold of somebody," Saray said.