San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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SPECIAL TO THE MERCURY

As summer drew to a close, David Rhoads, Jr. and his son, Jonathan Rhoads, were completing an outdoor task on their 5-acre property between San Marcos and Wimberley.

“He runs circles around me,” Jonathan said. “He always has a project going on.”

Suddenly, David experienced an all-too-familiar aching and burning sensation in the back of his neck. The symptoms mirrored a past cardiac event that resulted in several stents. He hoped the unexpected danger signs would fade with a nap, but his wife, Rebecca Rhoads, had different plans.

“I just said, ‘let’s go,’” she said. “I knew we could get (to the hospital) quicker than an ambulance could get to us.”

The Rhoads family resides a few miles down a rocky dirt road in rural Hays County, their home nestled beyond a few locked gates. Jonathan drove as fast as he could, weaving in and out of traffic to bring his father to the Central Texas Medical Center (CTMC) Emergency Room.

“A lot of times when you go to the (emergency) room, you dread the thought of it because you know you’re going to be there for hours, and this wasn’t the case,” David said. “They took me immediately into the room and did an EKG.”

Dr. Anthony Cedrone, who had recently moved to San Marcos to serve as CTMC’s full-time interventional cardiologist, entered the room to tell the Rhoads family that David Jr.’s EKG was not normal.

“He told us, ‘I think you’re having a…’, and before he could finish his sentence my dad flat-lined,” Jonathan said. “I couldn’t believe what I just saw. I didn’t think that would ever happen to him or in front of me.”

Jonathan recalls a swarm of doctors and nurses rushing to his father’s aid for a series of shock compressions.

“Watching the staff and how they took care of him, I knew that he would be okay, even though he flat-lined,” Jonathan said. “I knew that he was going to come back. I just had faith in everything that was going on.”

CTMC’s emergency medical team was able to bring David Jr. back to stability, and Dr. Cedrone put two stents in his heart.

Miles down the highway in San Antonio, David Rhoads, III felt his phone vibrating in his pocket but was busy during his first day back to work at Judson Independent School District. When he returned to his office, the secretary gave him the message that his father had suffered a heart attack. “When I started driving over here, I started praying as hard as I could. I wasn’t ready to lose my dad,” he said.

Upon arrival to CTMC, Dr. Cedrone immediately brought David III up to speed on his father’s condition and led the family into the CTMC Cardiac Catheterization Lab to explain in detail the steps he was taking to save David Jr.’s life. “He went the extra mile, and for me that did a lot because I’m very visual,” David III said.

Mary Routh, David Jr.’s sister, also rushed to the hospital when she heard the news about her brother, who she calls her best friend. “I couldn’t ask for a more considerate person than Dr. Cedrone. He’s very personable, very loving, friendly and very concise,” she said. “We are family, and we are glad that Central Texas Medical Center is here to take care of us.”

Although he wasn’t aware of CTMC’s interventional cardiology program at the time of his heart attack, David Jr. calls the technology a blessing.

“There are times that I’ve heard, ‘Go to Kyle’ or ‘Go to Austin,’ but that’s really not the case,” David Jr. said. “This is a good, good facility. The quality of care I got I would say is as good as anywhere I could have gone. I’m glad to know they’re here.”

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