The Rev. Bernard Coughlin is in fair condition in a Florida hospital after he had a heart attack while jogging on a cruise ship sailing near the Virgin Islands.
The Gonzaga University chancellor and former president was taking the cruise as a last leg of a sabbatical during which he also toured portions of Europe by bike. Coughlin, 74, was scheduled to be back at work Jan. 2, said Dale Goodwin, spokesman for the Jesuit university.
After collapsing Monday morning on the deck of the cruise ship, Coughlin was taken by boat to a hospital on St. Thomas. From there, the university staff and Jesuit community in Spokane was contacted, Goodwin said.
“He was the one who called here (Monday),” Goodwin said. “So he’s doing pretty good.”
After consulting with Spokane cardiologist Dr. Marcus DeWood, Coughlin, along with his fellow Jesuits, decided he should be transferred to the University of Florida Medical School Hospital in Gainesville for further testing.
No cardiologist was on St. Thomas to treat the priest.
DeWood arranged for the medical flight to Florida and has been examining Coughlin’s electrocardiograms via facsimile, Goodwin said.
Coughlin was moved from the intensive care unit to a regular hospital bed Tuesday and was up and walking around. The heart attack caused no discernible damage, according to test results, Goodwin said.
“Doctors were amazed that this was a 74-year-old man who had just had a heart attack, because he is doing so well,” Goodwin said.
Coughlin will remain at the Florida hospital one or two more nights for observation, then return to Spokane for follow-up treatment.
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