Diagnosis: Heart Attack
Treatment: CPR, stents
Despite beginning with engine troubles and ending with a hospital stay, June 30, 2013, was one of the luckiest days of Tim Nugent’s life.
With one day left before the start of crab season, the 57-year-old Seattle resident was getting his boat ready for a three-day solo fishing trip, but things weren’t going as planned.
Instead of heading out on the water, Nugent found himself laboring under the hot summer sun, trying to deal with the engine problems that were delaying his adventure.
Then the unimaginable happened.
"ARE YOU OKAY?"
“After piddling around outside, trying to figure out why the engine wasn’t running, he came into the house and told me he had a pain in the middle of his back,” says Laura Nugent, Tim’s wife. “He couldn’t figure out if he’d pulled a muscle trying to lift heavy crab pots into the boat or something like that, but he tried to lay down with an ice pack and nothing helped.”
Moments later, Laura heard Tim call her name from the living room.
“I’ve never heard him call me in that tone, in that way, so I grabbed my phone and went running to him,” she remembers. “I’m calling his name and shouting, ‘Are you okay?’ and I see his eyes are rolled back in his head, his tongue is hanging out and he isn’t breathing.”
Tim had suffered a heart attack—and Laura knew exactly what to do next.
Although she was in a terrifying scenario, the 45-year-old CPR and first aid instructor kept her cool and called 911.
Then she relied on the lifesaving skills she currently teaches bus drivers as part of her job with the Northshore School District.
For the next eight minutes, Laura and the 911 operator counted together as Laura performed hands-only CPR on her husband.
She continued chest compressions until paramedics arrived on the scene and took Tim to the emergency department at EvergreenHealth Medical Center.
LIFE-SAVING EMERGENCY CARE
“The EvergreenHealth team was ready for Tim before he even got out of the ambulance,” says Laura. “There were people ready to take me to see him and tell me what was going on. There were wonderful nurses there to reassure me.”
And there were cardiac experts Dr. Christopher Price and Dr. William Getchell to care for Tim, who promptly recovered following the placement of two stents in his arteries.
But the key to Tim’s health was his wife’s preparedness and quick thinking.
Without CPR to keep Tim’s blood flowing, he could have suffered permanent brain injuries or heart damage.
“Laura did a great job, and I am very fortunate to be alive,” says Tim, who made it through the life-threatening experience with just a few sore ribs. “It happened so quickly, and there was no warning. That’s why people really need to know CPR.”
EvergreenHealth offers regular community health educational seminars on CPR and first aid. You can check the schedule and register online or call the Healthline at 425.899.3000.