Rescue Lines – Summer 2016 – “Call of the Year”: Pregnant Mother Saved from Cardiac Arrest During Blizzard

CoverStory_CalloftheYearIt was February 18, 2015. A winter storm had draped ten inches of snow and ice on Virginia Beach, and drivers crept along the roadways with great caution.

Late that evening, a call came in that paramedic Brian Roland will never forget. The 911 Emergency Dispatcher described a pregnant female in cardiac arrest. Her spouse, a physician, had begun CPR. Roland later learned the woman’s pacemaker, which she had since childhood, had unexpectedly failed. Roland, a member of Kempsville Volunteer Rescue Squad at the time and now a career paramedic, and his team would need to save not one life, but two.

CoverStory_BrianRolandWhen Roland arrived, other first responders from the Virginia Beach Fire Department had taken over CPR. The husband stood in the corner, overwhelmed with fear for his wife, who is also a physician. The EMS crew transitioned the patient to a LUCAS device to automate compressions and utilized a LIFEPAK 15 to analyze cardiac rhythms and pace her heart. A GlideScope helped obtain an essential advance airway.

Roland credits the “teamwork, professionalism, and constant training” of the crews to obtain a pulse while they were still in the home. EMS transported the wife and husband through the snow to Sentara Leigh, and Roland recalls seeing 30-40 members of the ER awaiting their arrival.

The husband made the difficult decision to have the baby delivered by C-section almost 13 weeks early while doctors performed a bronchoscopy on his wife because her lungs had filled with fluid. Once stable, she was transferred to Sentara Heart Hospital and her newborn son to CHKD.

Thanks to courageous efforts from individuals at Emergency Communications: VB911, Virginia Beach Fire Department, Virginia Beach Police Department and Sentara Leigh Hospital, the mother and her baby survived the harrowing ordeal. And today, the family of three is doing great.

Jerry Sams, a member of the Plaza Volunteer Rescue Squad, assisted Roland on the call. He said everyone worked together flawlessly to revive the mother, and their training and preparation made the difference in what could have been a devastating tragedy.

A special thanks to the EMS and Fire providers who played a role that night: Hollie Albertson, Michael Brown, Rachel Hall, James Ingledue, Tyler Kerr, Amy Morgan, Candace Ochalik, Brian Roland, Jerry Sams, Brent Thompson, Mike Truitt and Michael Wilkinson.