What a difference three days can make. For 48-year-old David Christensen, three days made a huge difference after suffering a heart attack at the new Amazon facility in western Wyandotte County.
For the past several months, a Control System technician with Amazon, the Topeka resident, commutes to the Amazon facility each day for his job. Recently he was at work and felt like he had a gas bubble in his chest and suffered extreme head pressure. He asked his boss to call 911.
Due to the amazing efforts of the local Kansas City Kansas Fire and EMS department and the nurses and physicians at Providence Medical Center, he is now thankful for his recovery.
David says he gets a little emotional about the entire experience. “Really, if it wasn’t for the firemen and EMS and the Providence physicians and nurses, I wouldn’t be here,” David said. “I want to shake their hands and tell them thank you.”
When the KCK Fire and EMS department arrived, they immediately began caring for David. After obtaining a 15-lead ECG, the crew activated a “Code STEMI” and moved him to the ambulance for transport. David remembers talking to a KCK Fireman who told him that EMS would transport him to Providence.
During transport, David went into cardiac arrest. Due to the quick actions of the EMS crew, they were able to restore the patient’s heartbeat and circulation before arriving at the Medical Center. Once in the emergency department, David’s heart stopped again. He was intubated for respiratory failure.
The EMS crew assisted hospital staff members who were able to successfully resuscitate him again. Within 21 minutes of arrival, David was emergently taken for a cardiac catheterization where a 95-99% stenosis in his left circumflex artery was opened and a stent was placed by Venkat Pasnoori, MD, Interventional cardiologist. Since he was in cardiogenic shock, he received an intra-aortic balloon pump.
“What the KCKFD and EMS did in the field stabilized Mr. Christensen and saved his life,” said Dr. Pasnoori. “Our team assembled quickly here and was able to rapidly and efficiently care for David in the Emergency Room and Cardiac Center.”
He added, “This community is fortunate to have excellent EMS care in Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties.”
In the Providence Intensive Care Unit, David received therapeutic hypothermia, or cooling therapy, a best practice used to increase survival and reduce the risk of damage to the patient’s brain after a cardiac arrest. A nurse named Rusty told him to wake up and squeezed his hand He tried but was having trouble. That is when the staff lowered his body temperature, and he wasn’t very happy. But then his wife Emilee squeezed his hand, and David squeezed back.
He was later successfully extubated, and the balloon pump was removed. He left the hospital without neurological damage due to timely resuscitation.
It’s a fact that time is heart muscle. The sooner a patient with heart attack symptoms gets to a hospital for lifesaving care, the better chance they have of not only surviving but of minimal heart damage. It takes teamwork in the field and at the hospital to deliver lifesaving cardiac care every day for not only those who live in Wyandotte County but those who work in the county as well.