Tuesday, April 5, 2011

So happy to be alive

Jamie Butler and Richard St. Hilaire. (provided photo)
 Capt.Larry Leinhauser of the Manatee County Department of Public Safety and Jennifer Anderson of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center recently shared a sweet story of  life and thanks.

Richard St. Hilaire of University Park suffered what could have been a fatal episode on Oct. 11, 2007.

Emergency Medical Services was dispatched to his home about 5 p.m. Ambulance crews found that he had an abnormal heart rhythm.

Jamie Butler was the charge paramedic on the call that day.

"It didn’t take long for Jamie to get an idea of just how serious the situation was. Mr. St. Hilaire was awake, but very dizzy. When Butler placed him on their cardiac monitor his heart rate was initially OK, but en route to Lakewood Ranch Hospital Mr. St.Hilaire began to feel like he was going to pass out," Leinhauser said in a press release.

"The heart monitor now showed that he was in ventricular tachycardia, a deadly rhythm in which the heart is limited to erratic beating and blood supply to the brain and body is severely compromised. The treatment is a combination of medications administered intravenously and cardioversion. (electrical shock) He was shocked not once, or twice, but three times before his rhythm returned to normal," Leinhauser wrote.

"Paramedic Butler managed his care until they arrived at the hospital. Once the doctors reviewed the care given by paramedic Butler, they advised Mr. St. Hilaire if it wasn’t for her quick actions and skills, he would not be alive today," Leinhauser said.

For a paramedic, maybe just another routine day of life-saving.

But for St.Hilaire, he needed closure by personally thanking the paramedic who saved his life.

That meeting was held at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center on March 30.

“Jamie saved my life and I just wanted to tell her thanks in person,” St.Hilaire said, according to Leinhauser.

For her part, Butler said she, too, was touched by the reunion. "We don’t usually get to see or meet them after our portion of their care is completed," she said.

A postscript. St. Hilaire apparently resisted the urge to immediately call 911 after he began feeling ill.

"Today, he considers himself lucky to be alive and encourages anyone who suspects they may be having a heart attack or stroke to call 911 right away," Anderson wrote in a press release.

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