City man­ager suf­fers heart at­tack

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­

Cov­ing­ton City Man­ager Leigh Anne Knight, a life­long city res­i­dent, had a heart at­tack Mon­day night while on va­ca­tion in Florida, and though she is re­cov­er­ing, she re­mained hos­pi­tal­ized as doc­tors tried to dis­solve blood clots, hus­band Scott Knight said Wed­nes­day.

The fam­ily is ask­ing for prayers for Leigh Anne, who is 45 years old and has no his­tory of heart prob­lems; Scott said the fam­ily and doc­tors were both be­fud­dled given his wife’s pre­vi­ously healthy his­tory. Scott said he hopes she and the fam­ily will be able to re­turn to Cov­ing­ton this week­end.

Leigh Anne was no longer in pain and was feel­ing bet­ter late Wed­nes­day evening, Scott said, and was ex­pected to leave the in­ten­sive care unit Thurs­day.

Deputy City Man­ager Billy Bouchillon will be the head city ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cial in Knight’s ab­sence, just as he would be dur­ing a nor­mal va­ca­tion or other ab­sence.

“Most peo­ple don’t have th­ese is­sues at the age of 45. The doc­tor couldn’t be­lieve it be­cause she had a clean health his­tory and no choles­terol (is­sues), and this just rears its ugly head out of the blue all of the sud­den,” Scott said.

The Knights were in Panama City, Fla., va­ca­tion­ing with friends who were run­ning a base­ball tour­na­ment, when Leigh Anne be­gan feel­ing chest pain, fol­lowed by arm numb­ness and jaw pain, af­ter din­ner Mon­day. She was rushed to the lo­cal emer­gency room, and though ini­tial tests came back neg­a­tive, doc­tors later di­ag­nosed a mild to mod­er­ate heart at­tack.

An ini­tial car­diac cather­iza­tion — the process by which some heart con­di­tions are di­ag­nosed — led to the dis­cov­ery of mul­ti­ple blood clots. Doc­tors have pre­scribed clot-bust­ing drugs since then, but they have had mixed suc­cess, Scott said. As of Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, Scott said on Face­book, doc­tors were in­creas­ing her clot-bust­ing med­i­ca­tions and said she would be kept in the hos­pi­tal for a few more days.

“I want to thank ev­ery­one for their prayers and con­cerns and out­reach for her. We hope she is back to her nor­mal self as soon as pos­si­ble and we can get her home safely,” Scott said.

Once the clots clear up, Leigh Anne will be put on blood thin­ners, but she should be able to rest at home once she re­turns to Cov­ing­ton, Scott said.

A cou­ple of close fam­ily friends, Len Strozier and Alan Du­vall, are stand­ing by to fly down and trans­port Leigh Anne back to Cov­ing­ton through a pro­gram called An­gel Flight. The non­profit pro­gram matches up pi­lots with peo­ple need­ing ex­pe­di­tious med­i­cal trans­port. Pi­lots cover the costs of the fuel and fly their own planes.

In this case, the two will plan to fly a cor­po­rately-owned King Air, seven-seat plane to pick up Leigh Anne.

Strozier said they would be able to get Leigh Anne from

her hos­pi­tal bed to her Cov­ing­ton home in less than 2.5 hours. The seven-seat plane would also al­low the im­me­di­ate fam­ily to travel with her.

Scott wanted to use the tough sit­u­a­tion to give ad­vice to oth­ers, ad­vis­ing peo­ple to get reg­u­lar check­ups and to not ig­nore pain. Leigh Anne ex­pe­ri­ence some mild chest pain a hand­ful of days be­fore her heart at­tack, Scott said.

Sev­eral fam­ily and friends have helped the fam­ily dur­ing this tough time. Friends Dennis and Judy Thomp­son are driv­ing to Florida to pick up Leigh Anne’s par­ents Bobby and Betty Pa­trick, while Tim and Amanda Gaines and son Tate and Roy and Janet Frix and daugh­ter Tiffany Smith have been pro­vid­ing sup­port and meet­ing im­me­di­ate needs.

A cousin and reg­is­tered nurse, Me­lanie Mertz, has of­fered to fly down with the An­gel Flight to of­fer as­sis- tance with trans­port.

“With­out them, I don’t know where we would be,” Scott said.

Cov­ing­ton Mayor Ron­nie John­ston also of­fered some thoughts on be­half of the city.

“The city has asked ev­ery­one to keep Leigh Anne in their prayers. We’re very con­fi­dent she is strong and will come through this. We’re look­ing for­ward to her re­cov­ery,” John­ston said.

Scott thanked ev­ery­one for their sup­port.

“Ev­ery­one’s prayers and their out­pour­ing of con­cern has been a bless­ing for us. Face­book has been my medium (to pro­vide up­dates), but any friends or fam­ily can al­ways reach me via Face­book or my cell,” Scott said.

“Al­ready had of­fers of peo­ple bring­ing food; that’s not a big con­cern to us. It’s just me and (daugh­ter) Meghann and Leigh Anne; we’re a small fam­ily and for the most part we’re good with that,” Scott said. “Maybe it’ll just be a lit­tle slower pace now for a while, un­til we get back to a rou­tine.”


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