Newly registered nurse, Andy Hoang, started her career this year with hopes of specializing in cardiac care. When she finally got the chance to begin that journey, she became the patient.
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A few months into her first job, Andy attended a cardiac arrest training session at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. She and her colleagues gathered to practice saving patients who go into spontaneous episodes. Just as the class was starting, Andy, 23, suddenly felt nauseous and dizzy and told someone beside her that she needed to sit down.
“That’s the last thing I remember,” she shared while speaking to the Associated Press. “I woke up to a room full of doctors and nurses.”
The young nurse had gone into cardiac arrest, forcing her colleagues to jump into action and save her life, with no time to learn or practice. With quick thinking, they called a “code blue” and began to revive Andy with chest compressions.
“What was really stressful about the situation was that we never had a real code blue in the center,” instructor Lisa Davenport said. “We train for them all the time.”
Young Nurse Feels Bonded to The People Who Saved Her During Her Cardiac Arrest
As luck would have it, the critical care team from a local hospital was attending a different training session only a few doors down. They rushed in to help guide the nurses through the situation by getting Andy on a defibrillator and oxygen. They also inserted an IV while a doctor and nurse from another department came in with crash carts.
It was only about 15 minutes from the time she fell unconcious to the time she got into an ER room.
“It worked out, but it was pretty frightening for all of us,” Davenport added. “You just don’t expect that to happen with someone as young as Andy.”
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute states that cardiac arrest is extremely rare for people under 30, especially for someone like Andy who has no genetic conditions or history of cardiac arrest and who exercises regularly and eats well.
Andy admitted that the harrowing experience has strengthened her bond with her fellow nurses.
“We basically went through this whole life-or-death experience,” she said. “It really changed my perspective on how I view life, like ‘Hug your family a little longer. Tell them that you love them because it might be the last time you get to say it to them. And just cherish life for what you’ve been given. It’s precious, and I didn’t realize how precious it was until I nearly lost it.”
Listen to Andy and her fellow nurses share the story here.
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