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Quick Action Saves Patient's Life During Heart Attack

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  • Written By: Erin Wallner
Quick Action Saves Patient's Life During Heart Attack

Heart attacks are known to be deadly but the type that takes the most lives is commonly called “the widow maker.” Brian Coffman not only survived this type of heart attack, he came back to thank his caregivers one year after being discharged from a rehabilitation facility. “I just wanted to tell them thank you. I don’t know how you thank someone for caring for someone that they didn’t even know,” he explained. “I don’t know how you thank people for saving your life. I don’t know if you can say it enough.”

In late January 2021 Brian was experiencing chest pain and came to the Emergency Care Center at Flagler Hospital where he was immediately sent for a CT. The Charge Nurse on duty, Ashley Williams (pictured at left) had a gut feeling that Brian was in an extremely grave situation and sent Sheryl Davis, RN (pictured at right), to go with him for the imaging exam. That decision likely changed Brian’s life. While in the CT, Brian’s heart stopped and Sheryl, who is approximately a quarter of her patient’s size, immediately jumped on top of him to start CPR while a call went out for additional support. Brian’s heart stopped several times before the team was able to stabilize him and bring to the cardiac catheterization lab. There the cardiac team inserted a stent to open a 100% blockage in his heart. After a few days at Flagler Hospital, Brian was transferred to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.

Brian spent four weeks in a coma, on an ECMO machine (similar to a heart-lung-bypass machine), intubated, and then sent to a rehabilitation facility three months later. Family friend and Flagler Hospital employee, Jessica Lewis, helped to coordinate the reunion.

“I can only imagine the amount of work it took to do what they did for me – Dr. Bishop, Sheryl, Jessica, everyone who helped. I’ve never been someone to ask for help but it’s nice to know that there are people here who will help and go above and beyond for someone they don’t know.”