November 21, 2017

Cardiac Arrest Survivor says, “you didn’t give up hope.”

Seated Mary Jean Robinson with her grandson Hunter White. Standing middle (left to right), Gary Robinson (son), Marsha Robinson (daughter-in-law), Laura Beachem, BHS, RN, Cardiac ICU (CICU), Sandy Beavers, BSN, RN, Cardiology Case Manager, Denise Ebert, BSN, RN, Interim Director Medical Heart Services and Manager CICU, Lloyd Robinson (husband), Delores White (daughter), Rebecca Ingle, RN, Medical Cardiology Step-down. Standing back (left to right), Alex Schneider, MD, Neurology Services, Frank Castelblanco, MSN, RN, RACE Coordinator, Phyllis Shelton, MD, Emergency Department, William Kehcer, CCEMT-P, McDowell County EMS Director, Aaron Wheeler, Major Eugene Edwards, Operations/Training Office, McDowell County EMS, William Hathaway, MD, Mission Hospital Chief of Staff and Asheville Cardiology Associates, Craig Walker, Dana Blake, Heart Outreach Coordinator, Leslie Council, Education/Marketing Coordinator, Asheville Cardiology Associates.

How our team saved a life in minutes, and gave a determined dog back to her owner

By Cherry Odom, BSN, RN, Nursing Practice, Education, and Research

Mary Jean Robinson was honored September 19, 2011, at Mission Hospital’s first Cardiac Arrest Survivor’s Lunch in the Stevens Board Room.

She does not remember the day last March when she collapsed at home. Her husband Lloyd saw her fall and called 911. Lloyd began CPR, following the phone instructions of the dispatcher after cardiac arrest was confirmed. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) staff arrived quickly and assumed resuscitation measures, including two electrical defibrillation shocks with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

Forty-six minutes after the start of CPR, spontaneous circulation returned. McDowell County EMS immediately started cooling therapy (therapeutic hypothermia). Frank Castelblanco, MSN, RN, RACE Coordinator and Director of Cardiac Emergencies, said McDowell County is one of two EMS teams in NC that has used the brain-saving cooling therapy in the field.

Mary Jean, who spent two weeks in the Cardiac ICU, awakened asking for the four-legged member of her family, her little dog Abigail. Lloyd laughed and told the lunch attendees how he had to keep pushing Abigail away, as he administered CPR. The dog was trying to protect her and kept biting Lloyd to the point of “drawing blood.”

Lloyd tearfully talked about the personal impact of participating in his wife’s resuscitation. He always returned to a smile, though, when asked about the dog.

Mary Jean is still recovering and trying to regain the strength to play outside with her grandson. She expressed her appreciation to the nurses and physicians present, “Thank you; you didn’t give up hope.”

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