Each year in February, we recognize American Heart Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women.” As a healthcare training organization, Ross Medical Education Center and Ross College campuses work hard to instruct their students about heart health in order to improve their lives and the lives of others.
Although heart attack is just one impact of heart disease, it definitely is among the more frightening, fast, and deadly. For James McNutt, a longtime history professor at Thomas More College and husband of Angie McNutt, Campus Director at Ross Medical Education Center in Erlanger, Kentucky, this terrifying fact became his reality. McNutt was in cardiac arrest for over an hour and survived due to the quick thinking and action of his wife.
While mowing his lawn, McNutt suddenly began to experience chest pain. What he thought was just heartburn from his lunch began to concern him as he lost feeling in his hands and arms. He was home alone, so he decided to call his wife. When her husband called her at work and described what was going on, Angie knew at once what was happening and that she needed to call 911 instead of driving home.
The incredible teams from both Independence EMS and the Emergency Department at St. Elizabeth Hospital had to keep his heart functioning throughout the terrifying 70 minute ordeal by use of a defibrillator and constant CPR. When Angie arrived in the emergency room, she experienced the terror of watching the medical team having to use the defibrillator over and over until they were able to open the blockage that was causing the repeated cardiac arrests. Throughout the entire process, Angie knew that CPR and the defibrillator were the only things keeping her husband alive.
“They did everything they could to save my husband,” shared Angie about the life-saving care provided to her husband. “They were under the guidance of God. Without that team, James would not have made it.” However, without the quick thinking of Angie, her husband likely would not have survived. Dr. Fitzgerald, the physician that was on the floor during the entire ordeal, gives Angie a lot of credit for her quick action. He said that calling 911 is the best option when you believe that you or someone you know is experiencing cardiac arrest. Driving yourself or someone suffering from a heart attack to the hospital is dangerous and may end up as a tragic choice.
James McNutt is now healthy and very happy to be alive. He has visited the Erlanger campus to share his miraculous story with CPR classes and inspire students to be informed about the symptoms of heart attack as well as how to respond quickly and potentially help to save a life. To learn more about this amazing story, visit the St. Elizabeth Hospital blog article.