Healthy 19-Year-Old Chef Rushed to Hospital with Suspected Heart Attack

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An otherwise fit and healthy Cambridge teenager ended up being rushed to hospital after suffering a suspected heart attack in April. Harvey Stocker, who regularly exercises and had no prior health concerns, is still recovering a month later.

Nineteen-year-old Harvey, a chef, complained of chest pains, shortness of breath, numbness, pins and needles to the left side of his body and pain in his neck while at work. He was taken to Addenbrooke’s where he was told he was having a heart attack and that his heart was inflamed.

Harvey’s mum Donna met him at the hospital and noticed immediately that he “looked very poorly”. She was able to stay with him briefly while tests were made but because of restrictions at the time, she was not able to stay with him further.

Donna, who lives five minutes from the hospital, headed home to await further news but just a few minutes later heard the unthinkable. Donna said: “While in A&E after the tests were performed the consultant told Harvey he was having a heart attack. Harvey was still conscious and able to talk and understand what they were telling him”.

“I called A&E for an update on Harvey to be told by the consultant ‘we believe Harvey is having a heart attack and you should come back to the hospital as we need to transfer him over to Papworth hospital as an emergency.”

‘My world was falling apart’

Donna said that Harvey’s troponin levels (a protein present in the bloodstream during a heart attack) were “through the roof” and his heartbeat was “all over the place”. Harvey was then taken to Royal Papworth, the specialist heart and lung hospital in Cambridge where they X-rayed his heart.

Donna said: “My world was falling apart. I was in total shock to think our 19-year-old son who has always been fit and healthy was being told he was having a heart attack! I felt helpless and very upset not knowing what was happening to Harvey while he was being taken care of in Papworth. The wait in the relative’s room was the longest wait I have ever experienced. My world was collapsing around me!”

Thankfully the X-ray at Papworth confirmed that Harvey was not having a heart attack but that he had a very inflamed heart. Harvey was diagnosed with Perimyocarditis/Myocarditis, which Donna said “could have led to a heart attack”.

Harvey Stocker and his mum Donna at their home in Cambridge
Harvey Stocker and his mum, Donna at their home in Cambridge.

Donna said her son has always been “fit and healthy” with no previous health issues. However, Donna explains that he had become “poorly on and off since he received his second Coronavirus vaccination” with a constant cough and bad throat infections and the feeling of “constantly being run down”. However, it is unknown if this is linked to Harvey’s Perimyocarditis/Myocarditis.

Following further tests and MRI scans, Harvey was told he had damage to his heart which is still inflamed and will take time to heal. Donna said: “Harvey has been told that he cannot do any exercise or anything at all strenuous for three months minimum”.

Adding: “He had to have complete bed rest for two weeks and then was only able to take short walks around the neighborhood”.

Donna said that Harvey had a lot of “great things” planned for the year such as going to festivals with friends and trips away but at the moment he is unable to do any of them as he recovers and waits for his next MRI scan which is expected in July.

Whilst resting up as much as possible and recovering, Harvey is also on a lot of medication to help with his recovery. It is unknown how long his recovery will take.

Donna said: “We weren’t given an exact time frame on how long it will take to recover or if he would have any long term effects. Only time will tell which is very worrying”.

‘I love my job as a chef and not being able to do that to my fullest makes me sad’

With Harvey’s condition affecting his everyday life, he now faces new challenges on his road to recovery.

Sharing some of the struggles he’s faced, Harvey said: “I love my job as a chef and not being able to do that to my fullest makes me sad. I like to go out with friends and family and again I am unable to do that as much as I’d like to without being driven and picked up as I am unable to cycle. I can walk, but not too far or for too long.

The chef is determined to achieve his goals and has been able to gradually return to work by working shorter hours.

Harvey said: “I am now a qualified Commis Chef and work at the Anchor Pub, in Burwell, Cambridge. I am having to do a phased return to work, working shorter hours and not every day. Also I am not allowed to do the cooking as that is very fast-paced. I am able to help with the prepping and also the plating up”.

Harvey is taking things slowly until his next MRI scan which will see how he is healing. But the chef is determined to reach his goals and said: “My goal for the future is to be back to the same fit and healthy Harvey again as soon as I can. I love my job as a chef and I thrive to make it big in the chef world”.

As the teen can no longer ride his bike to work, which was an estimated 20-mile-plus trip a day, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help raise money for Harvey so he can learn to drive through an intensive course. You can donate to Harvey’s GoFundMe page here.


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