New Cath Lab helping to save lives in Niagara County

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – Minutes matter. That’s what doctors say about patients who experience a cardiac event, like a heart attack.

They need to get treatment as soon as possible. Physicians say it could be a matter of life and death.

That’s what Jim Hildreth of Niagara Falls thought about when he had chest pain recently. He knew he had to get himself to a hospital immediately.

“So I came down Tenth Street. Drove up on the side walk. Made a U-turn and drove down the valet parking line.”

Within minutes, he was taken to the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. He was treated for a heart attack.

“From when I left my house until I was finished, that was an hour and a half. That’s all it took” said Jim. “I owe my life to them.”

The Cath Lab was created to fill a void in Niagara County. There wasn’t a facility like it in that county before April, but there was a need.

“Niagara County, in general, has a very high incidence of heart disease, heart attack, cardiovascular disease, and with it a high mortality rate,” said Dr. Neil Dashkoff, the Medical Director of the Cath Lab.

In the lab, Dr. Dashkoff can treat patients immediately.

A partnership with Catholic Health, Kaleida, ECMC, and Niagara County Officials made this possible.

After conducting a study, they realized that it was taking some patients too long to get to Buffalo for treatment. Officials say there have even been instances where patients died in the ambulance because of weather or traffic, delaying their arrival to the hospital.

Now, patients like Jim, don’t have to travel far for treatment. He said he owes his new lease on life to the doctors and staff at NFMMC. He said today, he feels better than excellent. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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