Doug Leatherman Credits Maryland Horsemen's Health System Doctor With Life-Saving Advice - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Doug Leatherman Credits Maryland Horsemen’s Health System Doctor With Life-Saving Advice

Dr. Jason Pothast (left) and Doug Leatherman at the Maryland Horsemen’s Health System

For Doug Leatherman, a visit to the Maryland Horsemen's Health System at Laurel Park on a Friday in mid-March could very well have saved his life.

Leatherman, who works as a pony person, wasn't feeling well and stopped in to see Dr. Jason Pothast for a checkup. He had had some chest pain about five days prior and was starting to feel better but told Pothast his family has a history of heart-related issues.

The recommendation was that Leatherman go to the emergency room, but he opted to contact a cardiologist. He could only get an appointment in about a week and a half and scheduled one.

A few days later after his visit with Pothast, Leatherman woke up that Monday night in serious pain. He then remembered what Pothast had told him as he was leaving the examination room.

“The last thing Jason said was, 'If you have any chest pain call 911.' Had he not said that, I probably would have waited a while,” said Leatherman, who was quickly transported to Carroll County Hospital. “The cardiologist said I got into the hospital so fast, there was very little damage. He said it was more like a bruise. The paramedics were great—everybody was awesome. If this had happened 100 years ago I probably would have died.”

Leatherman, 63, had a blocked artery with his heart at 40 beats per minute instead of 70. He stopped by Laurel only a few days after his surgery to explain what had occurred. And a little more than a week later, he was back atop a pony at Laurel.

“If I didn't work (with the horses), I probably could have come back to work only two or three days out of the hospital,” he said.

Pothast is one of several MedStar Health physicians that staff the Horsemen's Health System at Thoroughbred tracks in Maryland every live racing day throughout the year. He emphasized the importance of people taking advantage of the service—and also taking advice from their doctors.

“If you don't feel well, that's why we're here,” Pothast said. “We're here for your health-care needs and we want to keep people healthy for the work they love doing at the racetrack. Doug told me, 'If you guys weren't here, I may have never gone to see a doctor.' We are all glad he did see a doctor. And my advice is that if we strongly believe you should go to an ER, that means we are very concerned about your health and that something serious may be going on.”

Pothast said he understands that some people are hesitant to see doctors but he encouraged those who work at the racetrack to take advantage of the opportunity if they feel ill, need to have their blood pressure taken, or need to keep prescriptions from lapsing.

“If you haven't seen a doctor for quite a while, we're here every racing day,” Pothast said. “It's convenient for those at the track, and we are available.”

The MedStar physicians are available on racing days early in the afternoon after a brief visit to the jockeys' room. Appointments are preferred for non-emergencies and can be made by calling 410-902-6844.

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