AP NEWS

St. Luke’s Hosptial reunites survivor with saviors

February 15, 2019

For Tim Loney and the team of first responders and medical professionals that saved his life, Oct. 23, 2018 will remain a special day.

Loney went into cardiac arrest suddenly on that day. Even with colleagues from the business he owns, Solutions Information Systems, surrounding and caring for him and an ambulance on the way, the chances he would survive were slim, professionals with CHI St. Luke’s Hospital The Vintage said.

Months later, Loney was reunited with each team that helped him along the way, from his eventual resuscitation and admission into ICU, to his discharge from the hospital. Professionals from St. Luke’s, Northwest EMS Community Health, Cypress Creek EMS and Klein Volunteer Fire Department gathered to reunite with Loney.

One person from each team spoke about the night during the reunion. Eric Steffel, clinical educator with Northwest EMS, opened the event by telling the story from beginning to end.

“Timothy was experiencing some abdominal pain and chest pain. While at work, he collapsed and his coworkers quickly reacted and called 911,” he said. “Cypress Creek dispatch received the call and began dispatching units, providing instructions for CPR. His coworkers began performing CPR and this is what gave Tim the best chance of survival.”

As different members of the teams that saved him came up to tell their part of the story, each member had a specific moment of the night they remembered. Rebecca Sims, registered nurse at St. Luke’s in the emergency department, said she remembers shocking Loney with a defibrilator several times to get his heart to stabilize.

“All of the sudden, (Loney) had a somewhat organized heart rhythm so we shocked (him,)” she said. “(He) had a pulse. His heart was contracting again, which is what we like. We immediately had to cool [him] down, that’s a part of the protocol is to cool (his) organs down.”

Dee Anna Brown, registered cardiovascular invasive specialist at St. Luke’s, said she and her team were able unblock an artery for Loney that was causing issues. She told Loney that after his incident, he is like family to her.

“We proceeded to open it up and get blood flow restored,” Brown said. “All of that happened within a matter of 30 to 40 minutes from the time that we received (him.)”

Following the telling of his own story, Loney was overcome with emotion and addressed the crowd. He said he remembers almost nothing from the event, including several days afterward.

“I never thought I’d have a heart attack, never in a million years,” Loney said. “It’s a small world because I helped Northwest EMS probably about five or six years ago with some of their communications circuits that they were having issues with. This just shows that if you do things right for other people, they’ll be coming back to you. I always pay it forward. I’ve done that my whole life.”

Loney is still recovering from the incident and visits a doctor for status check-ups on his heart. His wife, Dawn Loney, helped him recover after the incident, and he now wears an auto defibrillator in case his heart suddenly stops.

Loney experienced pulseless electrical activity during his cardiac arrest, which means that the heart is still active, but is not producing a pulse. Treating this kind of cardiac arrest requires skilled medical professionals. As he spoke to each person involved in his fateful night, Loney said he was very grateful for what they did for him.

“To be here today, to stand here, I understand that I am in the one percent that survives this type of heart attack, and even less than that walks out of this without any disability,” he said.

chevall.pryce@chron.com