When 47-year-old Charlotte resident Christine Jordan sought medical treatment after days of feeling out of sorts, she never imagined she’d have a heart attack on the way to get help.
Christine had been staying with Kelly, a good friend, who decided to take her to seek help. “She wasn’t eating. She was tired all the time,” Kelly said. “I knew something wasn’t right."
What she didn’t know was just how quickly the situation would become a dire one.
“My friends were telling me we needed to go, and they helped me into the car,” Christine said. “That’s the last thing I remember."
Moments after setting off, Christine slumped over in the car’s back seat, unresponsive and without a pulse.
“I couldn’t believe it was really happening,” Kelly said. “It was one of the scariest moments of my life.”
Luckily for Christine, Kelly lived only a few minutes away from Carolinas HealthCare System Waxhaw, a healthcare pavilion with a freestanding emergency department serving residents of south Charlotte, western Union County and northern Lancaster County. When they arrived, Carolinas HealthCare System Waxhaw staff rushed to Christine’s aid, pulling her out of the car and wheeling her to the ED’s resuscitation room.
Overseen by emergency medicine physician Kathryn Shaw, MD, Carolinas HealthCare System Waxhaw staff performed CPR in an effort to restore breathing and circulation. After 25 long minutes, they were able to get a pulse back.
“We did everything we could to resuscitate her—we shocked her, gave her medication, and we never stopped performing CPR,” Dr. Shaw said. “We refused to give up on her.”
After stabilizing Christine, the team initiated a Code STEMI. This code initiates an alert with partner facility Carolinas HealthCare System Pineville, calling together a team of specialists who care for patients experiencing cardiac arrest. With the code in action, Christine was airlifted to Carolinas HealthCare System Pineville, where Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute interventional cardiologist Richard Shugoll, MD, placed a stent to alleviate the blockage to her heart.
“When it comes to heart attacks, our mantra is time is muscle,” Dr. Shugoll said. “Very few patients will survive what Ms. Jordan went through without very quick intervention. But we worked quickly, and she responded beautifully.”
Days later, Christine was up and walking, having suffered no lasting brain injury from her heart attack. And exactly one week after that fateful trip to Carolinas HealthCare System Waxhaw, Christine came back through its doors – but this time, it was to thank the staff who saved her life.
“I had to tell them thank you. If they hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t be alive today,” Christine said. She also recently returned to Carolinas HealthCare System Pineville to thank physicians and staff who unblocked her arteries.
“It’s really amazing how everyone worked together,” Christine said. “From Waxhaw to Pineville, I was taken care of every step of the way.”