For the media

Local mom miraculously survives multiple heart attacks

By The Health News Team | February 1, 2022
Sharp Grossmont Hospital heart patient Monique Hall

Nearly one year after her heart attacks, Dr. Azimi invited Monique Hall and her family to his clinic for a joyous reunion. Pictured L to R: Grayson, Chris, Monique and Dr. Azimi.

It was a typical day that most busy moms can relate to. Monique Hall had finished work, picked up her child, made dinner and was settling in after a long day. But later that evening, after going to bed, something felt different.

“I felt a great deal of pressure around my heart,” recalls Monique. “Initially, I thought it was indigestion. But progressively, the symptoms got worse until I was physically ill, and my husband and I knew something was terribly wrong.”

Her husband, Chris, along with their 10-year-old son, Grayson, rushed Monique to the emergency room.

“I'm also a Type 1 diabetic so because of that, I’m used to taking notice of what is going on in my body. And when things feel wrong, I make sure to go straight to urgent care or the emergency room,” says Monique.

At the hospital, clinicians performed multiple tests and realized that Monique was having a heart attack.

“I was in disbelief,” recalls Monique. “I looked over at Grayson and Chris and said, ‘Honey, I’m scared,’ and that is all I remember.”

Life-saving surgery for a second chance
Monique experienced a heart attack and three cardiac arrests while in the emergency room. Clinicians quickly performed CPR and tried to shock her heart. But life had essentially ceased for Monique. After several attempts, the medical team became doubtful that she could be revived.

“When I arrived in the emergency department, I saw a young woman who had essentially died after a prolonged resuscitation effort,” says Dr. Nassir Azimi, an interventional cardiologist affiliated with Sharp Grossmont Hospital’s Burr Heart & Vascular Center.

Monique’s heart was beating at less than 5% capacity. It was highly unlikely she would survive. But with her young son just outside the ER, Dr. Azimi knew he had to try.

“I felt I must at least give her a chance, while realizing that there would be an extremely small probability of meaningful survival,” recalls Dr. Azimi. “Her son was the same age as my son at the time, and I felt strongly that I could not allow him to be motherless. If there was any slim chance of her surviving, then it was worth taking.”

Dr. Azimi and his team went to work, implanting a temporary Impella heart pump to support her. They aspirated a clot from her coronary arteries, and then used balloon angioplasty and stent technologies to open the blockages. Dr. Azimi and his team placed two stents in two different arteries so blood could flow more freely through Monique’s heart.

In divine company
While the commotion in the hospital to restore Monique’s heart was occurring around her, Monique, who was unconscious, had an out-of-body experience.

“There was this black space,” she says. “I remember having awareness that I had died. There was a presence there with me, and I knew it was God.”

Monique recalls feeling calm but sad. She sensed “a glow” she believed to be God speaking to her. “I asked him if it was OK for me to go back, and the glow seemed to respond in the affirmative,” she says.

At that point, Monique says that she knew she had to fight to prove to everyone on the outside that she was alive and they should keep working to help her survive. “God moved through that hospital for me. And, oh, how hard the staff worked to help me, to bring me back to life.”

Road to recovery
Monique had successfully undergone coronary intervention with stents. She had a plastic tube down her throat that was connected to a ventilator to help her breathe because her heart and lungs were too weak.

Walking the short distance from her hospital bed to the bathroom was a challenge. Eventually, she had mustered some strength to breathe on her own and begin physical therapy.

“Once I had full movement, when I was more myself, I knew I needed to get up and get out,” says Monique. “It’s very important when one has been stationary for a long time to move around. You have to build up muscles. Being very weak, it took a while to do simple things. But you take those baby steps to resume life as you knew it before.”

Nearly two years since that fateful day, Monique is still coping as best she can from the traumatic experience and is taking medications to maintain her heart health. She shares what she’s learned about the importance of staying healthy with other women, advising them to keep current on their cholesterol and blood pressure numbers and to go to regular checkups with their doctor.

“Take whatever recommendations to prepare yourself, since heart disease can attack very suddenly,” she says. “In my case, it was something that was sudden — it didn't progress over time. Take charge of your health and put your body in the best condition possible.”

Learn more about women’s heart health and Sharp Grossmont Hospital’s state-of-the-art cardiovascular care.

For the news media: To talk with Dr. Azimi or Monique Hall, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at

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