Saved by a ‘Well-Oiled Machine’
Published in the Fall 2012 Issue of Samaritan HealthTalk Magazine.
|Rick Van Ostrand sings the praises of Good Sam for saving his life.
Sometimes, going to work can save your life.
Rick Van Ostrand wasn’t scheduled to work one Saturday last June, but he was called in as a lead imaging technologist in Good Samaritan Hospital’s Medical Imaging department. As soon as he finished his drive from Middletown, chest pains began and kept getting worse. Rick decided to go to the Emergency Department for an EKG.
“I took one look at Rick and knew something was wrong,” says Brian Roberts, patient care tech. “I knew we needed to get him hooked up fast to an EKG and monitors.”
As one nurse pasted the EKG leads to his chest, another was getting phone numbers to contact his family. “The next thing I knew, people were very concerned, yelling at me to wake up and stay with them. I just thought I was sleepy and having a mild heart attack, like the first one I had. I still wasn’t cognizant of how much trouble I was in,” Rick recalls.
He remembers a nurse leaning over him, asking if she could pray with him. “I said, ‘Yes! I’m in trouble here!’” Rick remembers. Then he passed out.
Smooth Handoff to Cath Lab
Juanita Krisher, RN, was the nurse who prayed with Rick. “The team kept resuscitating him by applying compressions to his chest. When we saw his EKG, we immediately called a cardiac alert,” she says. Dayton Heart and Vascular Hospital at Good Samaritan’s heart team, led by cardiologist Sudhakar Maraboyina, MD, gathered quickly in the cardiac catheterization lab as Rick was transferred there.
“This was just the beginning of the storm. We didn’t know how bad it would become,” Dr. Maraboyina says. As they worked, Rick’s heart continued the dangerous fibrillations. To keep Rick’s heart beating and combat low blood pressure, the heart team administered fluids, anti-arrhythmic drugs, prolonged CPR and ongoing jolts to the chest with a defibrillator to shock his heart back into rhythm. Rick would need 26 shocks in all that day.
“Even with all of this going on, the only way out of the problem was to open up the fully blocked right coronary artery. We suctioned out clots, opened the artery with a balloon, put a stent in place to hold the artery open, then inserted another balloon to clean up the artery,” Dr. Maraboyina explains. “Finally, we put in an aortic balloon pump to support the injured heart muscle.”
Three days later, Rick woke up in the intensive care unit, confused and hooked up to multiple monitors and fluids. That evening, as Dr. Maraboyina removed the aortic balloon pump, “I waited with bated breath and was greatly relieved when my heart continued to move blood through my system,” Rick says.
He returned to work after about 15 weeks of recovery, with very little residual damage to his heart. “I feel like a teenager on a spring day! I’m exercising and watching my diet. If I take care of myself, I’ll live a long time,” says the 51-year-old husband and father of three.
Everyone in Synch
|Dr. Sudhakar Maraboyina
Even though he wasn’t supposed to work that fateful day, Rick was lucky he was called in. “Time is muscle,” Dr. Maraboyina says, “So the sooner anyone with chest pain gets to the hospital, the more likely it is that heart muscle can be saved.”
Fast, coordinated team care is what every patient can expect from Good Samaritan’s Emergency Department. “The emergency team immediately recognized the seriousness of Rick’s situation, began treatment and promptly alerted the heart team,”
Dr. Maraboyina says. “Timely intervention at every step helped Rick beat the odds stacked against him.”
Emergency nurse Juanita remembers, “We were like a well-oiled machine that day, but our parts have compassion, spirit and comfort for our patients. We flew into action and delivered the best care possible. This is what we strive to do for everyone. We care.”
Learn more about the advanced care available in our Emergency Department.