Seven years ago today (July 31), Betsey Rairie collapsed at work. A customer started CPR while someone else called 9-1-1. Paramedic Joel Ocasio had just cleared St. Lukes Vintage Hospital when the call dropped. He was two minutes away in Medic 53. To this day Betsey credits Joel with saving her life…Joel and some guy named Lucas.
The Lucus automated chest compression device was deployed to continue CPR, freeing up medics to establish an airway and start an I.V. Earlier this year, Betsey got her CPR certifcation at Cypress Creek EMS and today, on the anniversary of her cardiac arrest, she rode with Joel Ocasio who is now a field supervisor. Betsey and Joel stopped by Station 53 where he showed her how she was intubated.
On July 31, 2012, Betsey’s veins were so constricted that Joel had to use an EZ-IO, which is a drill type device, to place a needle in the bone marrow of her tibia. That allowed him to start fluids to thin her blood and dilate her blood vessels.
Over the next nine minutes, the Lucas device was stopped four 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. Betsey remembers very little about that day seven years ago, but Joel and others are Cypress Creek EMS have helped her put together the missing pieces and showed her how her life was saved.