Ringgold resident awakens to revelation, starts business to help people with medical conditions

Ringgold resident awakens to revelation, starts business to help people with medical conditions

January 4th, 2012 by Katie Ward in Local Regional News

Ringgold resident and business owner Steve Hyde shouldn't be alive.

In March 2000, he suffered a severe heart attack while preparing on the drums for a St. Patrick's Day concert at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Two of his former band members, who are both surgical nurses, administered CPR for 27 minutes before hooking him up to a defibrillator and hitting him nine times with paddles.

Medatag owner Steve Hyde, of Ringgold, seeks to help people live a longer life by wearing armbands stating their medical history in case of an emergency. Inset: A Medatag bracelet contains information about any medical conitions the wearer has.

Photo by Katie Ward

"It was a severe situation," said Hyde, who had to spend one month in the hospital. "I spent four days in a coma."

Surgeons viewed two blockages on the ventricle side of his heart and completed a double bypass surgery on him. Hyde now has an internal defibrillator under his chest muscle.

He awoke from his heart attack vowing to help other people with similar medical issues by starting Medatag, which puts laser engraved stainless steel plates with medical information on bracelets and dog tags. Each plate lists the bearer's name, blood type, medical history, medications and dose rates, an emergency contact person and doctor's name.

"Nobody is talking about it, but it's so important," said Hyde, who due to his heart condition wears a Medatag dog tag around his neck at all times. "I want everyone to have the best possible fighting chance in the event something happens. The more medics have on people, the more they can curtail their care."

The bracelet he wore before his heart attack said diabetes on one side and heart disease on the other, but he thought he could make a better product, so he opened Medatag in Ringgold in mid-2011.

"I could not find something that I could put more than a few words on. I was a bit discouraged," he said.

His only complication since the surgery was the result of playing the drums upon arriving home. He began playing, forgetting the defibrillator activates anytime his heart goes above 100 beats per minute.

"On the third song I was playing it did," said Hyde. "It hit me like a linebacker and knocked me off my stool onto the floor."

Since that time he has reconfigured his defibrillator to accommodate his drum playing. He now plays in the Crossfire Band of Burks United Methodist Church in Hixson. He also runs La Providencia Mexican Restaurant in Dalton along with his wife Irma Hyde.