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VIDEO: Judge Bill Lee Recalls Heart Attack, Quality Care


When the Honorable William Swain Lee had a heart attack during 2015, he didn’t panic because he knew he would receive quality care just 10 minutes down the road.

Earlier that day, he and his wife hosted a going away party for his son and his son’s wife who were moving to Tennessee.

Judge Lee recalls, “We came back and I couldn’t get comfortable in bed. I had pain in my back that spread to my shoulders, chest, and down my arm. When the pain started in my jaw, I told myself – there’s no question, you better do something because this might be a heart attack.”

He continues, “I did what no one should do. I got in my car and drove to Beebe. You need to call 911 – don’t drive like I did.”

While his EKG appeared normal upon arrival, his blood work showed he had a heart attack.

“I know I am lucky to be alive. I did everything wrong and I still lived – that’s a testament to the quality care I received,” Judge Lee said.

After two procedures and a couple days, Judge Lee was discharged.

“After leaving the medical center, I spoke at the opening of Jazz Festival that night and also presented our physician’s awards. That’s me – I hit the road running,” he said with a chuckle.

Judge Lee has served on the Beebe Board of Directors since 2002. He and his wife have had four children born at Beebe and two grandchildren. Judge Lee has been treated at Beebe many times, in some cases for serious accidents.

“I was involved in fundraising for Beebe before there was a Beebe Medical Foundation to give to,” Judge Lee said. “However, experiencing the care provided there has made a difference to me. I knew Beebe was good, and having this experience proved it to me.”

While he grew up in Middletown, Judge Lee spent every summer in Rehoboth Beach and Sussex County, so he considers himself a local. During his heart attack, he was grateful to have Beebe just down the road.

“I’ve often thought that the biggest fatal decision during a heart attack was that you panic. And, I knew if I got to Beebe I would be OK,” he said. “Having spent so much time in the area and with Beebe, I’ve watched Beebe go from small hospital to one that is world-class in many of its services and in the quality of the care. We continue to get better and grow and I feel lucky to be part of that.”