Reporting Dr. Maria Simbra
JEFFERSON HILLS (KDKA) — If you had a heart attack at work, would your co-workers know what to do?
Glenn Caldwell’s did.
“Even after the first two times, they didn’t get no response, no pulse, they continued on. Didn’t give up on me,” he says about his co-workers coming to his aid.
“He had a complete cardiac arrest. So technically speaking, in lay terms, he was dead,” says Dr. Chong Park, director of the Jefferson Regional Medical Center Heart Institute.
On May 8 at 11 p.m., while at Guardian Industries, Caldwell had a heart attack while packing glass. He fell to the floor, unresponsive.
His co-workers called for help, and the company’s emergency response team sprang into action.
“Once we got it going, we all stuck together and we got it done,” says his co-worker Mike Kalo.
They used an AED, an automatic external defibrillator, and did CPR — training the team had with local EMTs.
“Had to put on the AED on him, turn the machine on. They’re pretty simple, they tell you what to do,” describes co-worker John Yenny.
Six minutes later, Emergency Medical Services arrived and took over.
“If they were not able to get some sort of flow started immediately, he would have never been able to be resuscitated,” says Dr. Park.
At Jefferson Regional Medical Center, he went to the ER, then straight to the cath lab.
In the cath lab, the doctors opened a blocked main heart artery and put a stent, or tube, in to hold it open. With heart function restored, he went to the intensive care unit.
After a week, he went home. Brain damage is a concern in these situations, but Caldwell had no neurologic problems, which the doctors say is because of lowering his body temperature from the start.
“Since he had a full cardiac arrest, we didn’t want him to suffer any brain damage, so they started the cooling therapy in the field,” says Dr. Park.
He’s back to work, and grateful.
“It was an emotional moment. We hugged, laughed,” says Caldwell. “It was just a joy to see everyone.”
“To have a dead person come back and talk to us and say he’s doing fine, it’s rare,” says Dr. Park.
An occasion for team celebration.