From time to time Cypress Creek EMS holds reunions for heart attack survivors. It gives them the chance to talk to, meet and thank the people who helped save their lives, beginning with the 9-1-1 dispatcher to the CCEMS Medics to the hospital staff. On Friday, July 31 a reunion was held for survivor Betsey Rairie. Here’s her story:
Betsey Rairie collapsed at work on July 31, 2012. A customer began CPR as another person called 9-1-1. CCEMS Telecommunicator Kristina Dension immediately dispatched the closest ambulance which arrived two minutes later and took over CPR. There was no pulse.
The Lucus automated chest compression device was deployed to continue CPR, freeing up medics to establish an airway and start an I.V. Her veins were constricted, so medics used an EZ-IO to place a needle in the bone marrow of her tibia in order to start fluids to thin her blood and dilate her blood vessels.
Over the next nine minutes, the Lucas device was stopped 4 times to check for a pulse and Betsey’s heart was shocked 4 times before her heartbeat returned.
Paramedic Joel Ocasio then performed an EKG and saw evidence of a blockage. He alerted Methodist Willowbrook, so that they could bypass the Emergency Room and head straight to the Heart Catherization Lab to treat the blockage.
Ocasio then started a chilled saline I.V. to induce hypothermia to help protect her heart muscle and brain.
Medications were then given to sedate Betsey for what was to come – first the heart cath lab to help restore blood flow and then surgery for a quadruple bypass.
Much of the initial care that used to take place in the emergency room now takes place in one of the CCEMS mobile emergency rooms. Ambulances are no longer just transportation. They are Mobile Intensive Care Units that, in most cases, do not leave the scene for the hospital until the patient is stabilized.
On July 31, 2015, Betsey and her husband Ron got a chance to talk to and thank some of the folks responsible for her care. Kristina Denison of the CCEMS Communications Center dispatched the ambulance. She was joined by Com Center Manager Niky Smith.
Joel Ocasio was the lead Paramedic and Judy Jordan was one of Betsey’s Nurses at Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital. Betsey and her husband credit all of them for saving her life beginning with that customer named Danny who started CPR, while the ambulance was on the way.
Some other noteworthy milestones happened the same week as this reunion. Betsey’s birthday was July 29 and Cypress Creek EMS turned 40 years old on July 25th. On that day in 1975, CCEMS was officially chartered by the State of Texas as a private non-profit corporation.
And here is the Official Reunion Picture: (Click picture for larger version)See Related Story on American Heart Association Gold Award for Severe Heart Attack Care