Big Island Mayor Mitch Roth ‘feeling thankful and blessed’ as he recovers at home

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth is continuing his recovery from home after suffering a heart attack on Saturday, Jan. 9. He admits the past few weeks have been tough, though he said he is feeling better now.

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Roth said on the night of Saturday, Jan. 9, he had just finished talking to a group of people before getting into his car when he began to feel chest pains.

“I told my friend who was driving to drive me to the fire station which he did. They got me to the fire station they put the EKGs on brought me to the North Hawaii Community Hospital.” said Roth. “Basically, they told me on the ambulance already that I was having a heart attack.”

He went into surgery to unclog the area that caused the heart attack once he arrived at the hospital. A stent and pacemaker were subsequently put in around his heart. He said the recovery was tough, but he has had to deal with it in addition to another heartbreaking blow.

“This is a really tough week in my life, my mom passed away. This week, and I’ve had a couple of real dear friends, that also passed away and so that’s been really tough,” said Roth.

He said, he chooses to look at the positive.

“My wife and I celebrated our 30th anniversary in the hospital, and people thought, you know, celebrating an anniversary in the hospital, how terrible was that? That was the best anniversary we’ve ever had and probably the most meaningful and, and probably the most memorable anniversary we’ve had,” said Roth.

He said, he felt healthy though there was some stress prior to the incident, .

“You know prior to this all happening we were racing to get so many things done in the first 100 days.”

Mitch Roth, Hawaii County Mayor

 Dr. Sanah Christopher, a cardiologist with Hawaii Pacific Health, said heart attacks can happen at any time. The signs to look for include severe chest pain, shortness of breath, pain in the arms, neck, jaw or back.

“Unfortunately, we do see this in our practice that sometimes people will describe that they were doing okay leading up to the event and this. Unfortunately, the event comes out of nowhere,” said Christopher. “So I think what I really want to emphasize is being cognizant and being very vigilant about signs as they come up.”

She said, people have to be extra precautious if they have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a family history of heart disease.

“So if you have the risk factors inciting events such as stress or, you know, some very severe exertion can certainly prompt some people to have a heart attack,” said Christopher.

Mayor Roth will be working from home as he continues to recover the next few days. He said, this incident has only made him more motivated to continue working on projects for Hawaii County.

“I’m thankful and blessed that we had a great team of people from the county fire department to the hospitals, all the doctors and the nurses and everybody at the hospitals took such a great job taking care of,” Roth said. “And, you know, with every adversity there’s an equal or greater opportunity. I think this is going to be a great opportunity for great things to happen on Hawaii Island. it changes my perspective, a little bit of what needs to get done.”

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