"Having Poinciana Medical Center So Close to Home Saved my Life"


It was a typical Thursday afternoon for retirees Howard and Eileen Soriano. Eileen was in the bedroom cleaning and Howard had just finished mopping the kitchen and living room floor. He felt a little dizzy so he sat down in his recliner. "I must have passed out," said Howard. "I woke up and got sick to my stomach. I went in to the kitchen to tell my wife and passed out again hitting my head on the wall."

From her vantage point in the bedroom, Eileen saw Howard enter the kitchen and fall. "I went to him and saw that he was unconscious. I called 911," she said. "When the EMS team arrived they recognized that Howard was in serious condition. They were going to take us to a hospital 30 minutes away, but the lead EMT said there wasn't time. We needed to go to Poinciana Medical Center which, thankfully, was just a few minutes away." Howard had suffered a massive pulmonary embolism (MPE.)

When they arrived at PMC's emergency department Howard went into cardiac arrest. "My heart stopped," he said. "They had to do CPR on me. I was later told by several doctors that it was a miracle I was alive. If it had taken another ten minutes to receive emergency care, I wouldn't have made it."

A pulmonary embolism is a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in the lungs. It is usually caused by blood clots that travel to the lungs from the legs or other parts of the body. The clots block blood flow to the lungs and can be life-threatening. Prompt treatment greatly reduces the risk of death. A massive pulmonary embolism like the one experienced by Howard Soriano, can also cause cardiac arrest. The heart stops pumping due to the clot. "I was very, very fortunate," said Howard. "I had a worst case scenario with the embolism and cardiac arrest."

While Howard doesn't remember all that occurred in those life-saving moments at Poinciana Medical Center, his wife does. "They were all just wonderful," she said. "From the EMT who made the decision to take us directly to Poinciana to the doctors and staff at the hospital, they were great. They were knowledgeable, very capable, and experienced in this kind of extreme emergency." Beyond the quality of care, Eileen said their compassion was exceptional. "They were very kind and pleasant with me. They kept me informed throughout the process making sure I knew what was happening with Howard. They took care of me as well as my husband."

Howard's health journey isn't over. His physicians are still doing tests to determine exactly what caused the pulmonary embolism so they can better prevent another one in the future. In the meantime, he's doing as much as he can and hopes to get back to his long walks in the neighborhood he used to enjoy prior to his MPE. As far as his neighborhood hospital, he's glad it's there. "Having Poinciana Medical Center so close to home saved my life."