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Husband of Slain Uvalde Teacher May Have Died of Broken Heart Syndrome

Husband of Slain Uvalde Teacher May Have Died of Broken Heart Syndrome

Joe Garcia, whose wife was killed in the Texas school shooting, is another victim of the tragedy.

It’s so heartbreaking to listen to the reports about the slaughter of the innocents at the school in Uvalde, Texas.

The magnitude of grief now being experienced by the families of the dead is unimaginable.  In fact, the sudden passing of Joe Garcia, the husband of fourth-grade teacher Irma Garcia killed in the massacre, is being attributed to “broken heart syndrome.

Irma Garcia’s nephew, John Martinez, said Joe collapsed at home on Thursday shortly after delivering flowers for Irma’s memorial. Doctors said a sudden death following a tragedy could be evidence of broken heart syndrome, a rare condition that mimics a heart attack.

“In general, when broken heart syndrome occurs, it’s after an extreme stressor,” said Dr. Deepak Bhatt, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

“It’s highly likely that the stress of his spouse’s death is what triggered this,” he said.

The technical term for it is Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. The condition presents like a heart attack. However, upon examination, doctors can find no blockages in the arteries of the heart.

Physicians report seeing more cases in the wake of the covid pandemic.

“When someone experiences a severe stress on their body – emotional or physical – it’s been theorized the high level of adrenaline in blood can cause dysfunction in blood vessels and heart muscle,” says Kelly.

Dr. Hermant Solomon, an invasive cardiologist at WakeMed, says it often presents in post-menopausal women – but the pandemic broke those barriers.

“I have seen a couple cases as a result of COVID, where they got Broken Heart Syndrome a year or 2 years later,” he says. “It’s on the uprise.”

The Journal of American Medicine found cases of stress-induced Broken Heart Syndrome increased to nearly 8% since the onset of the pandemic.

“Even though you are healthy you are still at risk of this,” says Solomon. “Don’t sit tight. This is real. You can die from Broken Heart Syndrome.”

The physiological cause of broken heart syndrome is not fully understood. Scientists currently think that that a surge of stress hormones impact cardiac tissue. Additionally, a temporary tightening of the large or small arteries of the heart may play a role, and there may also be an associated change in the structure of the heart muscle.

In most instances, the syndrome is not fatal. Broken heart syndrome usually reverses itself in days or weeks.

When you experience a stressful event, your body produces hormones and proteins such as adrenaline and noradrenaline that are meant to help cope with the stress.

The heart muscle can be overwhelmed by a massive amount of adrenaline that is suddenly produced in response to stress. Excess adrenaline can cause narrowing of the small arteries that supply the heart with blood, causing a temporary decrease in blood flow to the heart.

Alternatively, the adrenaline may bind to the heart cells directly, causing large amounts of calcium to enter the cells. This large intake of calcium can prevent the heart cells from beating properly. It appears that adrenaline’s effects on the heart during broken heart syndrome are temporary and completely reversible — the heart typically recovers fully within days or weeks.

Clearly, some losses are difficult to overcome. Joe and Irma had been married for 24 years.

According to Irma Garcia’s school profile, she had been a teacher for 23 years, all of which were spent at Robb Elementary.

“I love to BBQ with my husband, listen to music, and take country cruises to Concan,” she wrote in the profile.

They have four children, the youngest of whom is in the seventh grade, the profile says.

Prayers continue for the families of the dead and for the healing of the wounded.


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Grief compounded on grief. Words seen so inadequate.

May they find comfort in the Arms of Angels..

The queen died and then the king died is facts; the queen died and then the king died of a broken heart is a story. Kenneth Burke, somewhere.

TheOldZombie | May 28, 2022 at 4:02 pm

This is so a sad story. Especially for the four kids. They’ve lost both parents do to the actions of a dirtbag.

    gonzotx in reply to TheOldZombie. | May 28, 2022 at 4:06 pm

    And the coward police

      txvet2 in reply to gonzotx. | May 28, 2022 at 6:43 pm

      And undertrained; but small town police forces simply aren’t mentally or physically equipped to handle anything on this scale. By the very nature of small towns, their orientation is breaking up family disputes and handing out traffic tickets, not dealing with mass murderers.

        Arminius in reply to txvet2. | May 28, 2022 at 9:25 pm

        This isn’t going to fly, txvet2.

        “Documents Reveal Uvalde Police Violated Protocols in Shocking Ways, Made Egregious Decision to Stand Down”

        They hosted training in this very thing. And they still failed.

        “The Uvalde training session 2 months ago relied on guidelines that give explicit expectations for officers responding to an active shooter.

        The training is clear: Time is of the essence. The “first priority is to move in and confront the attacker.”

        Or maybe more clearly:

        “The Uvalde training session 2 months ago relied on guidelines that give explicit expectations for officers responding to an active shooter.

        The training is clear: Time is of the essence. The “first priority is to move in and confront the attacker.”

        My training may or may not be relevant, and even not obsolete considering the decades. I think most relevant is my patrol leader card: SMEAC.

        S is for situation. These cops failed at the first step. Nobody bothered to find out if they’re dealing with an active shooter or barricaded subject? Which, by the way, are meaningless distinctions to me as you’re talking about some maggot who should not exist on a Navy ship at effn all.

        The point isn’t I, Superman, could have saved the day. These Uvalde cops aren’t the innocent hicks they’re trying to paint themselves as. I haven’t trained for this for 30 years. But I can smell the pissed pants and the CYA from here.

          txvet2 in reply to Arminius. | May 28, 2022 at 11:18 pm

          Which only confirms my point that they weren’t psychologically competent to handle this kind of situation, no matter what training they’ve had. They just couldn’t handle the reality of what they were facing. To your point, the CoP had been through the training twice in the past two years and was still unable to act competently. Should they be let off the hook? Absolutely not.

          I didn’t get the Navy reference, but maybe I overlooked something.

          Arminius in reply to Arminius. | May 29, 2022 at 4:06 pm

          As part of their training they learn that innocent lives come first even before their own. It is very explicit; a single officer may call for back up but if the killing spree is ongoing that lone officer is expected to do his duty. And the training states that if the officer isn’t prepared to do that, that officer should look for another line of work.

          I went through much the same training, Shipboard Security Engagement Tactics, before becoming a member of a Security Reaction Force. My jargon may be out of date as this was the early 1990s. A lot has changed over the past 30 years. But talk about transferable skills. I don’t know what the role of a ship’s SRF has evolved to become, but during my time it was to hunt down and kill an intruder who had infiltrated the ship. That involved, among other things, moving from cover to cover along passageways and making dynamic room entries and killing the threat. Exactly the same skills the Uvalde PD needed and claimed to have had.

          I say PD. I don’t know or care if was SO.

          Note I don’t say capture. The idea of taking a threat into custody never was part of the plan.

          If the rumors prove to be true. That Uvalde PD officers rescued their own children while abandoning others what can possibly be their defense? They can’t then turn around and say that the situation had somehow devolved from an active shooter to barricaded subject situation.

          They knew the danger. They removed their own children to safety. Abandoned the children of their neighbors to the threat.

          I think the Navy reference is apt. What if the day I’ve trained for finally arrives. But I’m hung over or in love with a new woman or my wife is pregnant or otherwise I just don’t feel like dealing with it. The whole crew is watching. Call it pride, call it whatever, I’m getting out of bed and dealing with it. The idea of not doing so never crossed my mind.

          Your comments damn these cops. You say Mayberry RFD wasn’t psychologically capable of dealing with this event. Yet you admit they had the training. And the training states if you can’t deal with this kind of thing, get another job. And they didn’t.

          How is this an excuse now?

        Arminius in reply to txvet2. | May 29, 2022 at 2:37 pm

        Uvalde PD has hosted training for exactly this eventuality for surrounding law enforcement agencies. Including rehearsals for active shooters in that very school. They’ve conducted rehearsals in that school. Uvalde PD has it’s own SWAT team, BTW.

          alaskabob in reply to Arminius. | May 29, 2022 at 3:20 pm

          txvet2 — you switched from physical to psychological. Most cops never have to deal with anything close to this. But just as in war… there is a time to suck it up …there is always a first time. But .. there is an upside… The Uvalde Police issued a statement today ….they were relieved that no police officer received life threatening injuries.

          Two things going ahead:

          1) Kamala Harris now has the cause celeb …. gun control. Perfect fit…. Cali AG, from THE glorious state that leads the nation in “common sense” gun control. She was a loser and will still be but now can clearly be seen as the true successor to FJoe Biden. The script is being written.

          2) The police dept. will clearly embrace all the help from the Biden Admin to deflect from their actions…. “it was the gun”…. except in reality it didn’t make a tactical contribution but a political one. The formula is promoted because it works… shoot with an AR and take out helpless unprotected lives and you will be forever mentioned in the history books… fame is yours… follow the Dem play boot.

          From the moment the monster arrived, he announced his presence so that everyone knew he was there. This was solely about gaining notoriety. Tactically, all of this could have been done with even a knife…

          What the Left hopes is that this finally does what Dunblane did… allow total control of the direct of gun control making ownership “safe, legal and rare.”

          Arminius in reply to Arminius. | May 29, 2022 at 7:10 pm

          Perhaps another part of my experience might be relevant. VBSS. Visit Board Search and Seizure. We teach in the USN that there are three types. Compliant, noncompliant, or hostile/opposed.

          VBSS teams are composed of Sailors who do this as a collateral duty. Outside of their day jobs, so to speak. On a daily basis they going about their shipboard duties.

          Occasionally they run along a ship that needs to be frisked.

          Now, in my day, we classified such friskings as compliant, non-compliant, or hostile/opposed.

          Sailors were tasked with this collateral duty if it were compliant/non-compliant. But we trained them to shoot their way out if non-compliant turned into hostile/opposed.

          It is just unfair and unrealistic to expect a Sailor who normally spends his/her day as a sonar tech to turn into a Mattel superhero.

          Hostile/opposed we left to the MEU/SOC (Marine Expeditionary Units/Special Operations Capable) Marines or SEALS. That was the kind of thing they did for a living. Unlike BM3 down in the deck department.

          Howzabout we stop pretending? Stop giving these cops like those in Uvalde who aren’t psychologically prepared to use the training, the training?

          Like Navy protocol for VBSS, the local cops are trained to deal with X and Y, but not Z. For Z they have to call in the LEO equivalent of SEALs or MEU/SOC.

          And take away their goddammed SWAT team! And their MRAPs. Those aren’t the kind of toys children should be playing with.

        Barry in reply to txvet2. | May 29, 2022 at 9:54 pm

        So, they were unprepared in spite of their training. OK, fine then let the parents of the children take care of the problem by getting out of the way.

        But no, not only are they too chickenshit to protect the children, they don’t want to be shown up by the parents.

        I’m at a loss how any decent LEO could stand by and let children be slaughtered.

        Thank god the border patrol personnel had enough of the locals crap and went in anyway.