Clayton Lopez wasn’t playing hooky when he missed the Oct. 12 city commission meeting.
The longtime District 6 representative instead was in an ambulance bound for Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami, where he was treated for a cardiac “event.”
Lopez awoke on Oct. 12 with chest pain, high blood pressure and a racing heart, he wrote in an Oct. 18 email thanking his well-wishers.
When he called City Manager Al Childress to excuse himself from that day’s meeting, Childress offered to send the city’s ambulance to take Lopez to Lower Keys Medical Center. Lopez instead went to his cardiologist’s office, then to Lower Keys Medical Center.
From there, doctors decided to fly him up to Mt. Sinai Medical Center for specialized cardiac care.
But a life flight aboard one of the county’s Trauma Star helicopters wasn’t possible.
The hours-long cell service outage that stymied text messages and cell phone calls for much of the Florida Keys on Oct. 12 had bigger implications for Lopez — and anyone else who may have needed an emergency medical helicopter flight.
“Air transport doesn’t fly when cellular communication is out, so I was transported by ambulance to Mt. Sinai,” wrote Lopez, who returned home to Key West on Oct. 14. “I underwent a cardiac catheterization, MRI, electrocardiogram exams and plenty of bloodwork. Today, I will see my cardiologist in his office, to learn the results of the tests that were unavailable here.”
“Thank you all, who called, texted, reached out in any way,” he wrote. “I want to especially give thanks to our top-of-the-mountain EMTs and paramedics. They are amazing. We are blessed to have the professional, caring people we have.”