Stories: John and Sandra

John Shepanek and his wife, Sandra

In right place during a scary time

John Shepanek and his wife, Sandra, were glowing after a family filled weekend in Seattle last March 2015. Family is everything to the Shepaneks and they wouldn’t miss Emmy’s – one of 13 grandkids – graduation from the University of Washington; they were filled with joy. But as they were getting ready to head home to Vancouver, Wash., the entire weekend became a blur for John.  

As he was sitting in his chair at the hotel, John passed out. Thankfully, John and Sandra’s son, Chris, who was with his parents so he could drive them to the airport was there when it happened and could help Sandra call for help. Chris started CPR while his mom called the hotel staff for help. The hotel staff called an ambulance and said John needed to get to Swedish quickly.

John arrived at Swedish Cherry Hill and was immediately cared for by John Mignone, M.D., an expert in heart failure for the Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute.

After 16 days in the hospital, John was strong enough to make the trip home to Vancouver. The Shepanek’s credit Swedish and Dr. Mignone with saving John’s life and kept Dr. Mignone in the loop on John’s progress. After six weeks of rehabilitation, John and Sandra sent Dr. Mignone a photo of them outside their local rehabilitation clinic. Dr. Mignone immediately replied with an enthusiastic note of congratulations.

“It is that kind of follow up and caring that inspired us to give to Swedish,” says John. “We are grateful for the care Swedish and Dr. Mignone provided to me as a patient but also how well they took care and cared for the entire family.”

John continues to work on his recovery and looks forward to playing a round of golf soon.