The following is an article from the Kokomo Perspective about PDK brother Jeff Haworth of Beta Nu. It was submitted by National President Bruce Smith.
Spring break started off on the right foot for the local president of AFSCME and his wife as they left for a “bucket list” vacation that began in Las Vegas and was supposed to end with a cruise in the Pacific Ocean.
But when Jeff Haworth suffered a heart attack partway through the vacation, new plans were created for him and Sheila, which included a multi-day stay in an intensive care unit in a hospital in Mexico. “I was scared. I was very scared. I didn’t know if that was the end or what kind of treatment I was going to get,” said Haworth, 55.
The couple began their dream vacation in Las Vegas, visiting with longtime friends, before flying to Long Beach, Calif., to visit with family. From there, they left on a cruise, and everything was going well until two days in. Haworth began feeling ill and was vomiting heavily, but the pair had a catamaran excursion planned that they previously had booked through the tour company Pronatours. Sheila suggested Haworth stay with the ship and skip the excursion, but he wanted to go.
The excursion took the group to an island where Haworth continued vomiting. He began having slight chest pain, he said, but he and Sheila considered that it could be from all the retching. Regardless, Sheila checked with a woman from Pronatours, Lety Gomez, and asked if Haworth could leave with one of the other tour groups that was coming and going, as he wasn’t feeling well, and Sheila would finish out the excursion Another woman with the tour company, Lety Osuna, assured Sheila that they would get him back to the ship. “It never entered my mind that he was having a heart attack,” said Sheila.
On the way back, Haworth told the woman he was with that he thought he was having a heart attack, so she radioed ahead to a harbor doctor in Mazatlán, Mexico, and took him there instead of to the ship. When they arrived, the doctor was waiting on Haworth. He did an EKG and determined that Haworth was, in fact, having a heart attack. He administered nitro and told Haworth that he had to call an ambulance.
Haworth wanted to wait for Sheila, but the doctor told him that if he waited he would die. There were three hospitals in Mazatlán, a city of 750,000 people, and the Haworths said they were fortunate that the closest hospital had the city’s only cardiologists. And it was a state-of-the-art hospital that was only three years old, Hospital Marina Mazatlán.
Around the time Haworth arrived at the hospital, Sheila’s excursion was cut short. She said the tour guides claimed the water was changing and that they needed to head back to the ship. When she arrived back on land, Osuna was waiting for her. She told Sheila that her husband had a heart attack, and they needed to go to the hospital immediately. “I’m bawling. I’m scared to death,” Sheila said.
At the hospital, Sheila found Haworth lying in a hospital bed and described him as looking completely gray. The doctors told her not to talk to him, as they didn’t want him trying to talk back. They explained that Haworth’s main artery was clogged, and he needed a stint. They also needed his insurance card, which was back on the ship.“I’m going, ‘This is crazy.’ I don’t have the insurance card. We didn’t have passports. You don’t need them when you leave and come back through the U.S., so that’s going through my head. I’m saying, ‘Oh my god, how are we going to get out of here?’” she said. However, Osuna arranged for Sheila to get back to the ship to get her belongings and insurance card and assured her that everything would be fine.