Sarah, spouse of Mark, sudden cardiac arrest survivor
My husband Mark had just gotten home from his Sunday night hockey league.
With our four kids in bed, I was about to iron my scrubs when I heard
this loud thud. Mark had collapsed on the floor, was gasping for air,
sweating and turning blue. I called 911 and started performing CPR until
the paramedics arrived. It took three rounds of shocks, but finally they
were able to restart Mark's heart. By then, he had fallen into a coma.
I asked the ambulance to take us to St. Luke's.
When Becky Holmstrom [St. Luke's ICU nurse] found out that Mark was
undergoing induced hypothermia, she volunteered to stay on for another
eight hours to monitor him through the night. (She even called us on her
day off to find out how Mark was doing.) About 18 hours later, a battery
of tests diagnosed his condition as ventricular tachycardia with sudden
cardiac arrest. Mark has an ICD now and is doing great. We're both
so grateful to St. Luke's for his care.
It was a typical Sunday evening for the Ward family. With their four children
down for the night and husband Mark home from his Sunday night hockey
league, Sarah, who works at Northland OB-GYN Associates, was about to
iron her scrubs. Suddenly, she heard a loud thud. Her active, 36-year-old
husband had collapsed on the floor and was gasping for air, sweating and
Sarah called 911 and immediately began performing CPR (cardiopulmonary
resuscitation) until the paramedics arrived. After three rounds of shocks,
Mark's heart finally restarted, but by then he had fallen into a coma.
Sarah insisted the ambulance take them to St. Luke's.
Back at St. Luke's ICU, Becky Holmstrom, RN, was nearing the end of
her shift when she learned about a patient in cardiac arrest. More importantly,
the patient had just begun the process of induced hypothermia. Becky had
not only led efforts in the writing and implementation of the hypothermia
protocol for St. Luke's, she was also the only staff member on duty
who had performed the innovative cooling process. She immediately agreed
to stay by Mark's side for the next eight hours. Wrapped in subzero
cooling blankets with a cold saline solution circulating through his system,
Mark's body temperature dropped to 32 degrees Celsius, while Becky
and Sarah stood watch through the night.
Eighteen hours later, Mark was fully awake and off sedation. A team of
cardiologists performed a battery of tests that diagnosed his condition
as ventricular tachycardia with sudden arrest, a condition that can happen
to anyone at any time–even young, healthy, active people like Mark Ward.
A week later, under the care of Dr. Porur Somasundaram of St. Luke's
Cardiology Associates, Mark received an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
(ICD), a small, battery-powered device that detects and corrects irregular
heart rhythms. To maintain a clean bill of health, Mark monitors his device
daily, sees his doctor for in-depth follow-up appointments and avoids
contact sports–a small price to pay for surviving a near-death experience.