Sheriff Leo Dutton’s recent heart attack led some to believe he would be away from his job for a while.
Dutton doesn’t work like that.
Back at work this week and currently attending law enforcement classes in Great Falls, Dutton took a few minutes to chat with the Independent Record about his health scare and what comes next.
“I’m working two or three half days a week,” Dutton said. “I’m taking educational classes until the end of the year, so taking it easy shouldn’t be too hard.”
Dutton is beginning therapy at St. Peter’s Hospital later this month and is currently working on exercising every day, watching his diet and doing the things necessary to regain his strength.
On the road to Miles City with some of his deputies Nov. 28, Dutton began to feel a squeezing, oscillating pain in his chest.
“It kept feeling like it might go away,” Dutton said. “After Livingston, the pains got worse.”
Dutton said the blockage in his left descending artery and the heart attack that came with it is called a “widowmaker.”
But he managed to pull out with what he says will be a “full recovery.”
With the quick thinking by his deputies and the Livingston emergency room staff, Dutton’s heart attack caused no muscle damage and only minimal harm, something he is deeply grateful for.
“The Livingston staff was great,” Dutton said. “They recognized time is of the essence, and the cardiac lab in Bozeman was ready for me when I got there.”
After the attack, Dutton received messages from Sen. Steve Daines, Gov. Steve Bullock, Attorney General Tim Fox and Sen. Jon Tester.
“I’m no real person of note,” Dutton said. But he was happy to hear from them. He also noted the outpouring of help and well wishes from Helena citizens, including a few meals.
Dutton is in plainclothes for now. He doesn’t particularly like the feeling, but it’s something that he understands he has to do until he’s physically able to take up the sheriff’s full duties again.
“I have to prove myself like any other deputy,” Dutton said.