Robert J

A Heart-Stopping Road to Recovery

Robert Jenkins

For two days, Robert Jenkins experienced discomfort in his arms and torso. Since he lived a very active lifestyle, he shook it off – thinking that he pulled a muscle while exercising.

However, when Robert sat down on the couch and placed his arms behind his head, an excruciating pain shot through his body. “It felt like someone reached into my chest and started squeezing my heart,” says Robert, age 46, of Hoboken. He felt nauseated and his left arm started tingling. Robert knew right away he was having a heart attack.

Robert’s wife contacted 911 and an ambulance transported him to Jersey City Medical Center’s (JCMC) Emergency Department, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, where he was immediately prepped for the Cath lab. When the hospital staff wheeled him into the elevator, Robert felt ice cold. Then, he closed his eyes and his heart stopped – for six minutes.

The hospital staff took immediate action. A member of the nursing team administered CPR in the elevator. Within a minute, Robert was in the Cath lab, where the team quickly shocked his heart, prepped him for an emergency angioplasty and stented his coronary artery.

In mid-September, 22 months after his heart stopped, Robert headed to the Nevada desert with one goal in mind: making it to the top of Boundary Peak – seated 13,140 feet above sea level.

“When I made it to the top, I stood on the largest boulder and let out a huge roar of joy, using up all the energy and oxygen left in my body,” says Robert. “I had so many doubts and fears after my heart attack, but I set goals, pushed myself and achieved them.”