You never know when tragedy will strikE. YOU can only hope you'll be prepared for it. When a woman from Spencer, Iowa went in to cardiac arrest while she was driving she happened to be in the right place at the right time surrounded by a whole bunch of people prepared to jump into action. Nancy Naeve Brown has her remarkable story told through her husband.
Jan Bredehoeft is getting ready to get discharged from the Avera Heart Hospital and head home with her family to Spencer, Iowa. It is practically a miracle she is walking and talking at all. 7 days prior to this she and her husband Delray were in Spencer tooling around town running errands. Delray happened to look over at Jan and noticed she had passed out. Thank God they were stopped at a stop light since Jan was driving. Delray quickly slammed the truck into park and raced over to the driver side.
Delray says, "At that point you don't know, it's happening so fast. You think the worst. Fortunately I work for the city of Spencer and we do a lot of safety training. One of the first things they teach you is to call 911. It's the first thing I did."
Delray says out of no where he was surrounded by a group people. Someone started directing traffic while 2 people ran up and said they know CPR.
Delray says, "They got her out of the truck on the ground and started CPR."
Cardiologist Dr. David Nagelhout with North Central Heart says, "The critical thing is to get it started. Get the blood circulating because there is plenty of oxygen in there that will last a few minutes."
Delray says, "On the scene they shocked her 3 times. I vividly remember that when they put her in the ambulance. They said 3 times. It was the communication between police and fire."
Because Jan was technically dead until CPR was started oxygen wasn't getting to her brain for a matter of minutes. She is lucky Spencer responders used a cooling blanket like this one at the Avera heart hospital to bring her body temperature down to 91 degrees.
Dr. Nagelhout says, "If the heart has stopped for any length of time it seems to protect the brain. When you have cardiac arrest and CPR for a prolonged period of time there appears to be some substances created that cause damage to the brain by cooling it, it seems to prevent that. We don't quite understand why, but it seems to make a tremendous difference."
Jan was airlifted to the Avera Heart Hospital where cardiologists placed 2 stents in her blocked right coronary artery. Her heart was fixed, but Delray says her cognition wasn't. It took her a couple of days for her to start responding to doctors. She's unable to talk to us because of severe laryngitis, but she did talk.
Delray says, "The staff here, the nurses have just been great. They were just as excited as we were. It's been a roller coaster, but a fantastic ending. It's a wonderful place."
Thanks to early responders doing CPR, a cooling blanket and excellent medical intervention this woman is alive and alert today. Quite a feat considering she died while driving 7 days ago.