Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson presents Dr. Francis K. Le with an
honorary Apalachicola Police Officer badge
Photo by Gail Johnson
Bay County cardiovascular specialist Dr. Francis K. Le, was named an honorary officer of the Apalachicola Police Department and given a key to the city on Wednesday, after treating Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson for a heart attack Johnson suffered in late April.
“Naming Dr. Le as an honorary police office was my way of showing gratitude towards one of the leading heart doctors in the region; for allowing an amazing and all-knowing God to put him into place as a physician, to save my life”, Johnson said.
Le’s career choice was law enforcement and his aspiration was to become an FBI agent, but when he applied for a job as one of the nation’s top cops. His application was turned down because his vision didn't meet FBI standards. Instead, Le went to school to become a physician and received his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine and has been in practice for almost 20-years.
Shortly after 2:00P.M., April 21, 2016, Johnson suffered a heart attack while at work in his office. A couple from New York, Michael Flynn and Christina Manning was visiting with the mayor at the time he became ill and dialed 911 requesting that an ambulance be dispatched immediately.
“As I look back on that moment, I’m convinced that Christina and Michael’s unscheduled visit, on that particular day and at that specific hour was also preordained by God”, said Johnson.
Johnson also noted that it was only a few minutes after the New York couple had made the emergency call before help arrived.
“I also owe a debt of gratitude to Weems EMS personnel Jarrod Wester, Shannon Smith and Michael Hatfield, along with first responder Ginger Creamer for their quick response and for the initial lifesaving care they provided me”, Johnson stated.
|An alert Johnson after the catheterization procedure|
Photo by Dr. Francis K. Le
Paramedics from Weems Memorial Hospital rushed the mayor by ambulance from his office directly to Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center in Panama City, where Le performed a cardiac catheterization and inserted a stent into Johnson’s right coronary artery, which was 90-100% blocked.
“I’m thankful for the tender mercies of an amazing God for giving his angels charge over my life from the onset of that day. I’m also thankful for my wife, Gail who remained by my side throughout the whole ordeal, and for the many prayers that were prayed, the flowers and cards that were sent, the telephone calls and the text messages that were made, along with the hospital visits. Such behavior by the residents of Apalachicola during extreme and difficult times, defines who we are as a community and is the essence of what make our town such a great place to live”, concluded Johnson.
The mayor has been at home recuperating since the April incident and is expected to return to work and resume normal office hours next week.