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A co-worker, of about my age (I think--I'm not good at ages) had a heart attack at his desk on Wednesday. Last word on Friday afternoon was that he'd had a "massive" heart attack (don't know if this is just someone attaching the common adjective to an event that scared them, or if it's the official word), is listed as critical, and is on a respirator.

J. had some incredible luck, given that he did have the attack. He's in our N.J. office, and was alone in his office at the time but was on the phone to another co-worker of mine in our Idaho office. When J. quit responding to M. and she heard loud wheezing, she hung up, called the main N.J. office number, and told them to go check on J. Through more good luck the office was in the middle of CPR training that afternoon. Someone grabbed the experienced EMT who was teaching the class and the office's newly purchased defibrillator, and were able to revive J.

On a normal day, the main phone wouldn't have been manned at 4:30 when J.'s attack happened, so M. might have needed a lot longer to be find anyone to check on him. And if J. hadn't been on the phone, of course, he'd probably have died before anyone found him.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jan. 16th, 2005 01:55 pm (UTC)
J's Good Fortune
J. had some incredible luck, given that he did have the attack.
I do hope he survives this. My late husband didn't even though I was with him and he didn't need CPR until the paramadics arrived.

Yes, all of the circumstances you tell us about are quite quite fortunate. But the sobering thing to realize is that by the time a cardiac patient needs CPR or a defibrillator, there is only a 40% chance of survival even if a trained CPR giver and a defibrillator are right next to them when it happens. that means really only 2 in five chasnces of survival.

It is quite the life-saving technique, but it isn't a magic bullet.
We need to be better at recognizing and treating the early stages of cardiac disorders before they reach the level of infaction, we need to be better about our life-style choices, we need to realize what the paramedic teaching the CPR class I took in November said "We all have heart conditions due to diet and lifestyle in this country. It just may not be the heart attack that kills us."

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Nancy Barber

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