Doctors donate defibrillator to junior football group

Dr. Mustafa Hashem (left) and Dr. Qaiser Shafiq (right) from the Downriver Heart & Vascular Specialists present Riverview Junior Football Association coach and board member Chuck Singleton with a defibrillator unit that now will be on hand at all RJFA games.

Tom Tigani

 A recent health scare for a Riverview man has resulted in a greater degree of safety for the city’s young football players.

Dr. Mustafa Hashem and Dr. Qaiser Shafiq from the Downriver Heart & Vascular Specialists recently donated a defibrillator in honor of Chuck Singleton to the Riverview Junior Football Association, making a halftime presentation at the junior varsity game at Riverview Community High School on Saturday, Oct. 26. All three RJFA teams won their games that day.

Singleton, 45, is a warehouse manager for Roush Industries in Allen Park. He has devoted much of the past nine years to coaching in the RJFA, an ages-8-to-13 league that all four of his children have participated in at one time or another. But he and his family got a scare in the wee hours of July 26 when he suffered a massive heart attack and public safety personnel arrived at their house to find him unresponsive.

Police and firefighters were able to revive him and get him to Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital and its catheterization laboratory, an examination room containing diagnostic imaging equipment that is used to visualize heart arteries and chambers and then treat any stenosis or abnormality found. It was there that Shafiq initiated lifesaving interventions.

Doctors put in a stent, but it immediately closed, causing Singleton to have a second massive heart attack. After further treatment for the two attacks, he then spent five weeks in the intensive care unit.

“(Hashem and Shafiq) were amazed by Chuck the whole time and they developed a great relationship,” said his wife, Lina Singleton. “Some parents on our board worked at the hospital and knew the doctors. They told them we don’t have a defibrillator for the program, and (the doctors) were happy to donate it.”

Lina Singleton said doctors might not have had the opportunity to save Chuck’s life if they hadn’t had their house alarm repaired the day before the heart attacks.

“For some reason the alarm went off at 4 a.m., so I was awake and I heard a chair fall over in the kitchen and knew something was wrong,” she said. “Chuck doesn’t remember why he was there.”

But Hashem and Shafiq saw how Singleton has been there for his hometown and wanted to get involved.

“This gesture was because of the huge impact that was felt by all who were involved in Chuck’s care, and the positive impact he has had on the community,” Lina said.

“We eat, breathe and sleep Riverview,” Lina said. “Chuck has been a coach for five years and we’ve never needed a defibrillator, but we’re glad to have one just in case.

“You never want to be without one. I hope we never do need it, but it was a huge donation, a very kind and generous donation.”

Chuck is slowly recovering and still goes to the games every Saturday, even though he still has trouble walking. He’s also been to several doctors, including an ophthalmologist, and is undergoing physical therapy.

“It’s a long road, that’s for sure,” Lina said.

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