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Patient looks forward to Father's Day after ED nurse brings him back three times

Patient looks forward to Father's Day after ED nurse brings him back three times
Dave Rumer died three times.

He doesn’t remember that. What he remembers is it was Katelyn Culp, a registered nurse in the Emergency Department (ED) at Carle Health Methodist Hospital, Peoria, who saved his life on April 13.

Rumer, 72, Washington, had a heart attack on April 13. He coded three times in the Methodist ED.

Culp performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), doing chest compressions for three minutes and using an automated external defibrillator (AED) twice, working with her colleagues to restore heart rhythm three times.

Teams quickly took Rumer to the catheterization lab and opened a blocked artery, keeping it open by placing three stents, followed by feeding super-saturated oxygen into his heart through the artery for one hour.

Two months later, Rumer has no evidence of pulmonary aortic disease and no evidence of neurological decline.

“I feel better than before the heart attack,” he said.

“I’ve been at bedside for a good number of cardiac arrests,” Culp said. “I’ve gotten other people back as well, fortunately. But this series of events (coding three times and reviving with no deficit) -- I would call it uncommon.”

Rumer had good nutritional habits and rode his bike daily.  But, in March 2024, he began to “feel tired and a little bit off.”

He made an appointment with Arvind Devanabanda, MD, cardiologist, for April 16.

On Saturday, April 13, he was mowing the lawn when he felt pain in his chest radiating down his left arm and experienced nausea. He took a nitroglycerin pill and told his wife, Karen, that he was having a heart attack. She called 9-1-1 and their sons, Alex and David, who met them at Methodist.

In the ED, providers gave him an IV for blood thinner medicine and his care team prepared for the catheterization lab where Dr. Devanabanda would perform an angioplasty to reopen his artery.

“I remember seeing Katelyn in my room in the emergency department,” Rumer recalled. “There were a lot of staff tending to me. I remember having a bad headache and being in a lot of pain and that’s all I remember until I woke up.”

“We were prepping him for the cath lab when he went into cardiac arrest while I was bedside,” Culp recalled. “He was unresponsive and had no pulse.” She called a code, asked David and Alex, who were in the room, to press the call button, and began chest compressions.

“His eyes rolled back and Katelyn immediately lowered the bed, began chest compressions and asked us to push the button,” David Rumer, Metamora, said. “A swarm of people responded.”

Their father’s pulse was restored, then he went into cardiac arrest two more times. Both times, an AED was used to restore regular heart rhythm.

“He was shocked twice and had to get CPR for three minutes,” Culp said. “After three minutes, his heartbeat was restored and he was responsive.”

Rumer was “completely neurologically intact,” Culp said. She called that “uncommon” under the circumstances.

“I was happy to see him come back,” Culp said. “When someone gets CPR right away, there is a higher chance for a successful result.”

Rumer was taken to the cath lab, where Dr. Devanabanda found an artery 100% blocked. He reopened it, inserted three stents to keep it open and fed super-saturated oxygen through the artery to Rumer’s heart for one hour. Super-saturated oxygen therapy is new technology that Methodist is the first to offer to patients in the region. It’s used for patients presenting with anterior wall myocardial infarction (heart attack) and is approved by the FDA.

Rumer spent three days at Methodist. “The care I get at Methodist, with every interaction, is fantastic,” he said.

Several days later, Rumer, Karen and their extended family went to Methodist to thank Katelyn and present her with a floral bouquet.

“I was in tears,” Katelyn said. “Rarely, do people come back to say thank you. I told him ‘It’s so good to see you alive!’ I’m grateful we were there for him that day.”

“She saved my life and I wanted to thank her in person,” Rumer said. “Because of what happened, I get to see my family again.”

Alex Kane, RN manager for the Emergency Department at Methodist, said “This story exemplifies what we do on a regular basis. We don’t see patients for long. But we have a skillset to identify life-threatening conditions and respond. We give people the gift of time with their families and that’s the best gift we can give them.”

The Rumer family hopes people will learn from their story and see the importance of taking a CPR/AED class. If someone around you is experiencing an apparent cardiac arrest, call 911 and begin CPR. And cherish your time with your loved ones.

“We’re going to be extra thankful on Father’s Day this year,” David said.

“I’m living on borrowed time,” his father said. “Every day is special.”

Categories: Culture of Quality

Tags: AED, Cardiology, CPR, Emergency, Healthcare, Nursing