Al Pinheiro taken to St. Louise Regional Hospital with ‘severe
back pain,’ chills, while attending City Council’s annual
Gilroy – Mayor Al Pinheiro was rushed to the hospital from the City Council’s annual retreat early Friday afternoon after breaking into a cold sweat, which followed a series of back pains and chills.
He was taken by ambulance at about 1:45pm to St. Louise Regional Hospital, where he underwent electrocardiogram tests, according to reports from City Clerk Rhonda Pellin. Initially, councilmembers and staff worried that Pinheiro, 52, was suffering a heart attack. The mayor reported “severe back pain” to doctors, who suspected he may have kidney stones or some other kidney-related ailment, according to Pellin.
The hospital treated and released Pinheiro by early evening, according to St. Louise spokeswoman Vivian Smith.
The mayor had complained throughout the morning of back pains and chills, according to City Administrator Jay Baksa, who said Pinheiro “got ashen” shortly after sharing a lasagna lunch with fellow councilmembers and city staff.
Pinheiro stood wrapped in a jacket leaning against a wall in the Senior Center meeting room as council members discussed financing plans for a new library. He then went outside and took his jacket off as they continued the discussion, according to Baksa.
Shortly after, acting Fire Chief Hugh Holden and Police Chief Gregg Giusiana went outside to check on Pinheiro and immediately called 9-1-1. An initial call for a CALSTAR helicopter was canceled and paramedics transported Pinheiro to the hospital.
Councilman Bob Dillon pulled the mayor aside earlier in the morning to check on his condition.
“He looked like hell,” Dillon said. “I asked Al if he was all right and he said yes, and then the next thing I know he was being put on a stretcher.”
Pinheiro is the third city leader to be hospitalized in recent weeks. Bill Lindsteadt, the city’s director of economic development, died Thursday after spending nearly a month in the hospital for a number of related medical problems, including kidney failure. Planning Commission Chairman Dion Bracco was hospitalized in the last week after suffering a heart attack in the last week, and his recovering at home.
The city has canceled the remainder of the retreat, originally scheduled for 8am to 5pm Friday, and 9am to noon Saturday.
Serdar Tumgoren covers City Hall for The Dispatch. Reach him at 847-7109 or at [email protected]