Performing CPR on a patient can be scary for even the most seasoned of nurses. Performing CPR on your husband – that’s petrifying. Unfortunately, that’s what one nurse had to do.
On October 1st, Brittany Fields, a nurse and Clinical Educator in the maternity ward at IU West, performed life-saving CPR on her husband. Jake Fields, an employee at Mears Machinery in Avon, went into full cardiac arrest one Sunday afternoon. The husband and wife duo were sitting on the couch discussing the week’s work plans and childcare arrangements for their son when all of a sudden Jake stopped responding.
“I thought that was odd that he had fallen asleep that quickly,” said Brittany. “I yelled his name and he didn’t say anything. I was poking his chest but there was still no response. I called 911 immediately. Then I ran to my neighbor’s house and I screamed for them to help me move him.” Jake is 6’4” and 280 pounds making it impossible for Brittany to move him herself.
Shana and Nate, their neighbors, rushed to Brittany’s aid and helped lay Jake on the floor so she could start CPR. According to Brittany, in the twenty seconds it took to run outside and scream for help Jake had already started turning blue. The experienced nurse knew she had to act fast otherwise the results could have been deadly.
“I had been doing CPR for about five minutes and I was starting to get tired,” Brittany said. “Nate started doing chest compressions while I was doing rescue breathing.”
The Pittsboro EMS arrived and continued CPR for another twenty minutes. Jake had gone into ventricular fibrillation, a life-threatening heart rhythm that causes an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia. Essentially, the electrical signals of the heart tell the muscle to pump too quickly which causes the ventricles to quiver, or fibrillate. Ventricular fibrillation without CPR or the use of an AED is deadly.
En route to IU West, Jake received four to six shocks from an AED and was in cardiac arrest for a total of roughly 45 minutes. Jake remained hospitalized for over a week, requiring endotracheal tube ventilation and ICU care.
“I thought they were going to tell me that it had been too long,” said Brittany. “I was really afraid I was going to have to make a decision. They never said that. Mentally, I said goodbye to Jake because I really thought he was going to die.”
Before Jake was discharged from IU West he had an internal cardiac defibrillator placed. Doctors diagnosed him with cardiomyopathy but are still unsure why his heart went into the deadly rhythm. Additionally, he was diagnosed with a blockage on the left side of his heart. The doctors do know that if Brittany was not there to perform CPR, Jake most likely would not have survived.
Image: Brittany Fields
“I just went into action,” said Brittany. “I’m super thankful that my wife-brain turned off and my nurse-brain turned on. He received amazing care. It was truly incredible. My husband and I are strong in our faith, but to physically witness a miracle, I have no words for it. We’re so blessed and lucky.”