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HealthPartners member credits CareLine employees for helping save his life

Non-traditional heart attack symptoms quickly identified by CareLine nurse

July 29, 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – July 28, 2015 – A well-known Minnesota education advocate says the calm, quick response of two HealthPartners CareLine employees “probably saved my life.”

Joe Nathan, director for the nonprofit group, Center for School Change, was having a heart attack on July 4 when he called the CareLine, a phone line that provides members 24/7 advice from a registered nurse. Joe was feeling pressure in his chest and he was sweating, both symptoms of a heart attack, but he wasn’t feeling any pain. He knew something was wrong, but he wasn’t sure what to do next.

“People often connect having a heart attack to what we see on television or in the movies,” explained Dr. Thomas Kottke, a HealthPartners Cardiologist. “But not everyone clutches their chest from the pain. In fact, symptoms can be subtle and often confusing for heart attack victims.”

Overall, CareLine nurses receive about 500 calls like Joe’s every month. About 30 percent of the time, nurses recommend a clinic visit, but about 40 to 50 percent of the time, members are advised to go directly to the emergency room. In Nathan’s case, he was directed to call 911 and take four baby aspirin. The life-saving advice is something that the CareLine team is providing hundreds of times every month.

HealthPartners started the CareLine in 1975 becoming the first in Minnesota and one of the first in the nation to establish a phone line staffed by registered nurses.

About HealthPartners

HealthPartners is the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. For more information, visit

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