Scott Rose enjoys a family vacation in the Caribbean, less than an hour before experiencing a heart attack.

‘We just knew we needed to get home’

August 28, 2020

Heart attacks can happen anytime, anyplace – and to anyone.

Even on Christmas Day. During a Caribbean Disney Cruise. To a 55-year-old man with no previous heart issues.

Scott Rose was snorkeling with his wife, Kristy, and two children, Adam and Gracey, in the pristine waters off Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island. As Scott headed back to shore, he noticed something wasn’t right.

In a moment, a dream vacation turned into a medical emergency.

Luckily, a close-by lifeguard came to Scott’s aid. Scott was stabilized and returned to the cruise ship where he could receive medical attention. Scott had some symptoms of a heart attack but seemed to be out of immediate danger.

It wasn’t until the cruise ship reached the Florida coast that Scott learned he not only suffered a heart attack, but two of his arteries were more than 98 percent blocked.

He needed to have a quadruple bypass open-heart surgery as soon as possible.

Scott knew there was one place he wanted to be: close to home at Sanford Bismarck.


Home is where the heart is

Expecting a six- to eight-week recovery period before he’d be able to fly home, Scott decided to go against his Florida doctor’s orders. He wanted to be at home in Bismarck, where his support system was strong.

“We just knew we needed to get home,” Scott said.

He took to Facebook to ask his friends about the heart care available in Bismarck. There he learned about Sanford’s expert cardiovascular team including Dr. Sean Russell, who would turn out to be his heart surgeon.

On New Year’s Day, Scott made it back to North Dakota in an air ambulance. The Sanford team was waiting and ready to ease his fears after an already long journey.

“Before this, I couldn’t even walk into a hospital without anxiety,” Scott said. “At Sanford, everyone was so comforting and caring.”

Within five minutes of meeting Dr. Russell, Scott was at ease. He had complete confidence in his medical team as he entered the operating room.

“I can’t stress how fantastic every nurse, every doctor that I saw was,” Scott said. “There was never a time where I felt like I was abandoned or neglected. I truly feel I couldn’t have been cared for better anywhere else in the world.”


A quick recovery

Scott had open heart surgery on a Thursday, and by the following Tuesday, he was ready to go home.

Within a couple weeks, Scott was taking two- to three-mile walks. After a month, he was back at work. This summer, his heart didn’t hold him back as he landscaped his backyard, camped, kayaked and went for bike rides with his family.

“To have a place like Sanford where we are comfortable with our health care is priceless,” Scott said. “We know that we are in good hands and will be taken care of.”

You never know when a heart attack could affect someone you love. Help us stay ahead of the curve as we continue to provide lifesaving heart care to our community.

Join us today to make sure expert heart care remains available for everyone who needs it.