The training exercise included participation from emergency medical services and other community entities. “As the area’s only Level One Trauma we stand ready and waiting for patients with severe injuries,” said Eric Alberts, emergency preparedness manager, Security & Emergency Preparedness. “The objective of this exercise is to test our resources and methods to provide medical care in a completely different environment outside of the hospital while minimizing the impact to our Trauma Center and Emergency Department.
Chap, former Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC) patient and sudden cardiac arrest survivor, along with his
wife Jennifer, will shared the heroic story at the 2012 Survivors, Heroes & Advocates Awards Dinner presented by the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association
(SCAA) at 6 pm on September 14, at Rosen Shingle Creek Resort. The cat tale began when Buddy - a onetime skittish stray that was getting beaten up in fights, now an affectionate, loveable kitty - began meowing wildly, jumping around unusually, and making a huge fuss to alert Jennifer that her
husband Rick had collapsed on the kitchen floor from sudden cardiac arrest.
Jennifer, who works from home, had been on a conference call in her
home office. "Buddy was the first link in my chain of survival," said Rick
"Without Buddy, Jennifer would have never come out of her
It would have been the middle of the day before she
realized I was gone.
was a big integral part." After failing to get a response from Rick
, Jennifer immediately called 911 and promptly followed CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) instructions to start compressions to beat of a familiar song. "The operator told me I had to be prepared to complete 600 compressions," said Jennifer.
"It was overwhelming to hear, but I knew I had to do chest compressions-only to the beat of 'Stayin' Alive'.
It was surreal to have that Bee Gees' song in my head while my husband lay there lifelessly.
I remember getting to 300." Once the Orlando Fire Department
first responders arrived, they took over, using an automated external defibrillator. "It was like a dream or something," said Jennifer.
"I had never seen anything like it except on television.
I heard them say 'Clear.' I couldn't believe it was happening.
I was so hoping they were going to be able to bring him back, and they did." From there Rick was transported to the Emergency Department at ORMC for continued care. Clinicians credit Jennifer's quick response as a critical component to her husband's favorable outcome. "Time is muscle so you need to move fast, that's the key thing," said Mukesh Kumar, MD, Rick's cardiologist who practices at ORMC.
This has been shown to improve neurological recovery, and is why therapeutic hypothermia has become a standard at ORMC
for cardiac arrest patients." In addition, Rick
received a stent to open and restore blood flow through the blocked artery that caused the sudden cardiac arrest, followed by recovery in cardiac patient care units, and later completion of cardiac rehabilitation at the Orlando Health Heart Institute. Rick continues to recover at home
, with more heart healthy lifestyle changes including quitting smoking, preparing favorite meals with healthier, leaner options and walking. Since the recovery from his
sudden cardiac arrest, Rick
and Jennifer have become advocates for heart health, certified CPR trainers, and plan to start a local chapter of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association
, a national nonprofit patient advocacy organization dedicated to sudden cardiac arrest awareness and prevention. "I feel like I died that day," said Rick
"I've been told by enough of my doctors and others that I am really lucky to be here.
There was a small chance I would survive and an even smaller chance of coming out without brain damage and heart damage.
I feel I owe it to the world, and I feel I can make a difference in helping others." Rick and Jennifer recently returned to ORMC
for a reunion with caregivers, and described it as a wonderful and healing way to say thank you.
The two visited the Emergency Department, the MultiSystem Intensive Care Unit, the Cardiac Interventional Unit, the Cardiovascular Step Down Unit, and Cardiac Rehabilitation.
They met with clinical staff, and team members from Spiritual Care, Environmental Services, Respiratory Care, and other departments. "Having cared for Rick
and his family is just part of our calling as critical care physicians," said Dr. Vollenweider.