County Chair Jason Davis: 3rd stent in wake of heart attack

Ormond bike ride; swim in Daytona Beach surf reminders of life's enjoyments not to be taken for granted

Volusia County Chair Jason Davis had a heart attack / Headline Surfer®Headline Surfer® photos / County Chair Jason Davis shown in the images at left, is back home after suffering a heart attack late Thursday night.
 

DAYTONA BEACH -- County Chair Jason Davis has a newfound appreciation for life -- whether it's strapping on his helmet and riding his Harley up the coastline to enjoy the scenery of the scenic loop in Ormond Beach or diving into the curling waves of the World's Most Famous Beach here in Daytona on a humid Sunday afternoon.

These are just two enjoyable pursuits the 52-year-old war hero and first-term office holder understands are far more important than years of smoking that gave way to pipe tobacco have taken from him. And very easily could have killed him.

Davis laughed it off a week ago when he was hospitalized for chest pains that doctors could not attribute to his heart, despite tests. But deep down inside, Davis knew better.

"If I couldn't admit it to myself, how could I to others?" he asked over the weekend. "Yes, I had a heart attack before so I knew it was possible I could have had another."

Any doubts were erased with a second visit to the hospital late Thursday night, this time with far greater chest pains and loss of breath. So much so that he had to be transported by ambulance as opposed to having his girlfriend drive him to the ER.

Indeed, this time, the diagnosis was pretty quick.

"They told me I had a heart attack and they had to put a stent to open things up," Davis said Saturday after his release from Bert Fish Medical Center in New Smyrna Beach where he had been in ICU for two days before being moved into a private room.

"They told me I had a heart attack and they had to put a stent to open things up," Davis said Saturday after his release from Bert Fish Medical Center in New Smyrna Beach where he had been in ICU for two days before being moved into a private room.

The operation now means Davis has three stents keeping the blood flowing. The first two stints were put in after a heart attack more than a decade ago, he said.

Davis was not pleased when told how his illness was presented in a story initially published online Friday afternoon by the Daytona Beach News-Journal that made him look like he had given an extensive interview from the intensive care unit and was raring to go back to the dais and deliver his state of the county address that had to be cancelled after his last hospitalization.

Davis said he had no idea how the News-Journal even knew about his situation. Davis said the only people he contacted directly were a few close friends as well as County Manager Jim Dinneen and Headline Surfer®.

A voice mail message was left with the 24/7 internet newspaper by Davis on Friday morning, but because of the situation at hand, a call back was not placed until late Thursday evening when a close friend of the county chair said it was OK for him to take calls.

Davis said he was awakened from a call mid-day Friday on his cell phone in the intensive care unit by the News-Journal and only spoke with the reporter for "only a minute -- maybe less."

"I said I was fixed up and that I wouldn't miss giving the speech at the next meeting even if I had to do so in a hospital robe," Davis said, adding there were so many details about his health issues in the News-Journal story that he received a call of concern that afternoon from former Daytona Beach Mayor Glenn Ritchey.

"I gave the same reporter a lot of background about my heart in my last visit to the hospital when he called the first time and he must have combined that into the story that was online Friday." said Davis, adding he hasn't read the story nor does he have any interest in following up on it because such conflicts in the past have gotten him nowhere.

"They're going to write what they want any way no matter what I have to say or when I say it," Davis said.

Headline Surfer sent an email at 7:40 p.m. Friday to the reporter whose name was on the story, Andrew Gant, and to the editor, Pat Rice, and the publisher, Bill Offill, seeking clarity: "County Chair Jason Davis said that the story published in the News-Journal online gives the impression that the extensive quotations attributed to him in this afternoon's published report were all given to the newspaper today. Davis said most of the quotes were from last week."

The email went unanswered.

Davis has often found himself on the short end of the stick in terms of news reporting in the print newspaper since his win in the 2012 elections.

Earlier this month, in the premiere of its My Coastal Magazine," the News-Journal ran as the cover story a listing of what it describbedas the 55 most influential people in Volusia and Flagler counties.

Only one member of the seven-member Volusia County Council wasn't on the list -- County Chair Jason Davis. 

Editor's Note: Headline Surfer® will have more on the magazine and the chosen 55 listing in an upocoming story. The 24/7 internet newspaper is compiling a listing of the "Top 500 Volusia County Movers and Shakers." as a feature presentation.

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.