Dr. Walt West: Cardiac Arrest Rescuer
Dr. West didn't know that when he stepped on a plane from Nashville to Los Angeles a man would collapse of Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Because of the swift action of the flight attendant grabbing an AED, and Dr. West's willingness to perform a CPR and AED rescue, the man survived, and even had the chance to tell Dr. West "Thank you." See Dr. West tell this powerful story here.
Mary Newell Pape: Cardiac Arrest Survivor
I was working on a project in Chester, VA teaching customer service reps in a call center to answer questions about Medicare Part D when it was just getting started in late 2005. I lived in Houston, TX at that time, but was out there for about 3 months. The call center had about 1,000 people working in it, many who had small children and I heard a lot of them talking about their kiddos having colds or the flu, but I was fine - or so I thought.The weekend of Nov. 4-5, 2005, my best friend, who was also on the project, and I decided to drive down to Kitty Hawk, NC to spend the night. We drove down on Saturday and stayed overnight at a Bed and Breakfast that my son and his girlfriend had recommended. We got up on Sunday and I remember we drove over to beach and parked the car. It was chilly and very windy and the last thing I remember was climbing over some dunes to walk on the beach.
My friend Judy said there wasn't anyone else on the beach that day and that we then went shopping at some shops near where we parked. She said then we went into a restaurant and ordered lunch and that there were about 8-10 other people there. She said we were talking waiting for our food when I closed my eyes and put my head on my chest. She shook me and I wouldn't wake up, so she started screaming.
She said there just happened to be 3 off-duty paramedics in the restaurant and they all came over immediately and started CPR and called 911. I had gone into V-fib. Within a few minutes, other paramedics arrived and used their AED to shock 4 times to get my heart started. I was taken by ambulance to Outer Banks Hospital in NC and then life-flighted to Sentara Medical Center in Norfolk, VA.
When I was admitted, they determined that I had an injection fraction of 20-22% and I was also put on a respirator which I stayed on for 6 days. A few days after I was taken off the respirator, the doctors implanted an ICD which has never gone off, except when they tested it. The doctors surmised that I contracted a virus that should have become a cold or the flu, but for some reason it attacked my heart and weakened it. I didn't have any symptoms until I went into V-fib. The paramedics who gave me CPR and who used the AED saved my life. When I got back to Houston and went to the cardiologist, he asked me if I knew how lucky I was. I said, "No" because I knew almost nothing about V-fib and Congestive Heart Failure. I'd been a healthy 55 year old up until then. He said that it "usually" takes 1-2 shocks with an AED to get a heart in V-fib restarted and that I should be thankful for persistent paramedics! And, he said that only about 5% of people who go into V-fib survive it. This was a doctor who also teaches cardiology, so I believe him.
I owe my life to paramedics who were persistent in their use of CPR and an AED. While I was recuperating at my son's home in Herndon, VA I tried to find the paramedics who saved my life, but I was unsuccessful. I'd love to have the opportunity to thank them.”
Mary Newell Pape