Cooling Method Saves Heart Attack Patient
Robert Hoadley is a Project Coordinator at Evans Hotels. His day started out like any other on April 1, 2011, but things quickly changed. The last thing he remembers is walking down a flight of stairs and then blacking out.
“Witnesses said I collapsed, and my construction manager caught me mid fall. Because I am a performer and actor on the side, and it was April Fool’s Day, he thought I was joking. I started to convulse and that’s when everyone knew this was a serious situation and called 911,” said Hoadley.
Emergency responders and San Diego police arrived on the scene shortly after. Although many rescue measures were taken, Hoadley went about six minutes without a pulse or breathing on his own and continued to crash. He was taken to UC San Diego Health System’s emergency department where doctors were able to stabilize him.
“My wife and Vicar Joshua Seranno were at the hospital. It was not looking good, and they were preparing their goodbyes,” said Hoadley.
His heart started to beat on and off, and Hoadley was taken to the Critical Care Unit (CCU). That’s when a novel cooling method used to save the lives of patients in cardiac arrest was performed on Hoadley.
The innovative technology rapidly cools the blood, and the body temperature of the cardiac arrest patient is lowered, protecting the brain from damage that can result immediately after a heart attack.
Hoadley’s body temperature was lowered to 88 degrees, and he was in an induced coma for four days.
“The next few days were an emotional challenge for my family, but there was a huge showing of affection, love and support in my hospital room,” said Hoadley.
When Hoadley woke up from a coma, his doctor asked him to squeeze his hand to test his brain function. He could squeeze with this right hand but not his left.
“I was disoriented and overwhelmed,” said Hoadley. “But I kept getting stronger and more focused and started to do things that let my doctors know I wasn’t debilitated.”
Hoadley was in the hospital for 12 days, and although he still suffers from some memory loss, his follow up appointments show no blockages or abnormalities. He had no previous heart conditions.
“I went back to work a month later, celebrated my 17th wedding anniversary and saw my daughter graduate from high school. I truly believe if I wouldn’t have gone to UC San Diego and had the cooling method done, I would have died or would be significantly disabled,” said Hoadley.
He is now rebuilding his life, growing and redefining who he is as a person.
“When things like this happen to you, it makes you think about how you treat people and what you say to them because you never know what could happen,” said Hoadley.
He is now even closer with his family and will be sharing his story at CPR classes with San Diego Project Heart Beat.