Heart

Bystander CPR was Critical First Step in Saving Rob Jones’ Life

 Connie Jones has asked herself a lot of “what if” questions after her husband’s full recovery from sudden cardiac arrest at work. She’s heard the statistics – patients rarely survive when this happens somewhere other than a hospital.

“What if this had happened somewhere else?”

“What if a co-worker hadn’t started CPR?”

“What if there wasn’t an AED (automated external defibrillator) machine nearby, and someone who knew how to use it?”

“What if the paramedics hadn’t been just a mile away?”

“What if he’d been taken somewhere other than Bethesda North Hospital?”

Fifty-three-year-old Rob Jones collapsed with a near-fatal cardiac arrest in the fitness center at his workplace in Blue Ash. Two months later, thanks to a string of lucky coincidences and people who took quick action, he’s headed back to work, feeling completely back to normal. 

A Serendipitous String of Events

That day Rob was following his usual routine – on the elliptical at his worksite fitness center at lunch time – when he suddenly collapsed. A co-worker he had never met before began CPR. Someone else grabbed the AED located in the fitness center, which activated an alarm. An on-site team responded. The AED was used twice to attempt to shock Rob’s heart back into rhythm.

Coincidently, the assistant fire chief from Blue Ash was onsite doing a routine inspection. The paramedics arrived and were treating Rob within 10 minutes, and he was whisked to Bethesda North. After another shock in the ambulance, Rob remained unresponsive and was showing signs of lack of oxygen to the brain.

At the Bethesda North Emergency Department, tests confirmed he was having a heart attack. The staff started a hypothermia protocol, using a machine to reduce his body temperature to 91.4 degrees and hold it there for 24 hours. This reduces the body’s need for oxygen and can stem potential damage to the brain. Then Rob was rushed to the cardiac catheterization lab where TriHealth Heart Institute cardiologist Stephen Lewis MD quickly diagnosed severe coronary artery disease and a very weakened heart. After consulting with a cardiac surgeon to determine the best course of action for Rob, Dr. Lewis cleared the blockage causing the heart attack and Rob stabilized.

Rob's Healthy Lifestyle Accelerates Recovery

It took a few days, but Rob came back. A long way back. When he first woke up three days after his cardiac arrest, he couldn’t even use a spoon. No one knew what to expect. But a week later and after another procedure on a second artery, Rob went home, with no brain damage and a heart on the mend. Within two months his heart function returned to normal and he went back to work.

“I don’t remember a thing about what happened that day,” he points out. But Connie remembers it all vividly. “I am thankful that when this happened he was a mile away from Cincinnati’s heart hospital, where they have two Arctic Sun hypothermia machines, the staff knows how to use them, and knew he was a great candidate for this therapy.”

Connie also is grateful that Rob was aware of his risk factors for heart disease and had chosen to live a healthy lifestyle – regular exercise and healthy eating. “Sometimes you cannot avoid what your genes give you,” she notes. But she believes that being in good shape is what has brought him back so far, so quickly.

“I couldn’t feel better,” says Rob.

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Tags Heart

Last Updated: February 19, 2015