The Chain of Survival
Just one day into a five-day bicycling trip in Crater Lake National Park with her son’s Boy Scout troop, and Gloria Ferguson was in deep trouble. Nearly one hundred miles from the nearest medical center, the 52-year old math and science coordinator from Vancouver, Washington developed severe chest pain.
A Boy Scout leader drove her to the ranger station at the park’s south entrance, where she lost consciousness upon arrival. Two Boy Scout leaders started chest compressions, and an automated external defibrillator (AED) was brought to the scene to help maintain Gloria’s heart rhythm until the Mercy Flights helicopter arrived.
The Mercy Flights crew diagnosed a heart attack and brought the critically ill Gloria directly to the Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center cardiac catheterization laboratory, where a cardiac team had been alerted and was awaiting her arrival.
Gloria Ferguson and Kent Dauterman, MD
From the moment Gloria arrived at Asante Rogue Regional, she received lifesaving medical care to restore blood flow to the heart. She was transferred to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit where she was on a ventilator for five days. Twelve days after her admission, Gloria left the hospital with her husband and son, and has since made a full recovery.
Gloria’s story exemplifies what can happen when each link in the chain of survival works: the prompt recognition of cardiac symptoms by the Boy Scout leader; the quick decision to head to the ranger station; the chest compressions; the AED availability and its prompt and proper use; the rapid arrival and transport of the critically ill patient by helicopter; the direct transport from the helipad to the awaiting cath lab staff; and the rapid sequence of treatment that Gloria received once she arrived at the hospital. All saved her life.