McLaren Macomb cardiologists recognized for saving local man’s life

For their combined efforts that ultimately resulted in the saving of a man’s life, McLaren Macomb cardiologists Dr. Sibin Zacharias and Dr. M. Cameron Willoughby were recognized for the interdisciplinary care of a heart attack patient. The ZOLL Medical Corporation honored the physicians at a ceremony with the grateful patient giving the physicians commemorative plaques.

The manufacturers of the LifeVest, ZOLL’s device played a critical role in saving patient Tony Widick, who was prescribed the device by Drs. Zacharias and Willoughby.

Dr. Sibin Zacharias “The best part of this case is, and will always remain, that Tony is alive and doing well,” said Dr. Zacharias, an interventional cardiologist with McLaren Macomb. “To have been able to be a part of the care that impacted Tony’s life in such a positive way is a point of pride for any cardiologist.”

On Christmas Day 2016, Widick’s persistent chest pain rapidly worsened to a point that the Clinton Township resident had to be transported via ambulance to the McLaren Macomb emergency department, where he was immediately met by Dr. Zacharias, who opened blockages in Tony’s heart.

With Tony’s heart muscles significantly weakened, Dr. Zacharias consulted with Dr. Willoughby, a cardiac electrophysiologist, and prescribed the ZOLL LifeVest. The wearable medical device continually monitors the patient’s heart rhythm and should it detect a life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm, delivers an electric defibrillating shock to restore normal rhythm.

Just seven days after his heart attack, Tony experienced ventricular fibrillation, a life-threatening, sudden death condition. His heart had stopped, but he was shocked back to life after 47 seconds, prompting his return to the hospital, additional procedures and an implantable cardioverter defibrillator.

Dr. M. Cameron Willoughby “It’s wonderful to be recognized for the work that we do, but it’s most rewarding when the cases reach a positive conclusion,” Dr. Willoughby said. “The decision to provide the patient the LifeVest was the best option we had and his compliance in wearing the device as much as he did was critical. Following his second event, the decision to implant a permanent device was necessary.”

Said Widick, “I should have been dead. I couldn’t ask for better docs.”