Stricken Texan revived
An American Airlines crew helps save a woman by using CPR inside Honolulu Airport
Forty-nine-year-old Dorothy Newman was at Honolulu Airport June 6 ready to return to Texas after a 10-day vacation when she collapsed and turned blue.
Thanks to the quick action of her family and an American Airlines crew that helped administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Newman returned home alive and well yesterday on an American Airlines flight to Fritch, Texas.
"Because of citizen bystanders who performed CPR, this lady is now enjoying her family," said Pamela Foster, a nurse who coordinates the state airports' automated external defibrillator program.
Newman, a bank teller, was in Hawaii celebrating her 30th anniversary with her husband and family. A longtime smoker who gave up the habit a month ago, she had not been diagnosed with heart disease.
While at the ticket counter, she felt faint with "pain in her left arm and jaw" and sat down on a luggage scale. She remembers nothing else until she woke up in the ambulance, said Dr. James Ireland, her admitting physician and the medical director at Honolulu Airport. These are not classic heart attack symptoms, he said, but are often seen in women.
Her husband, Allen, said she was "frothing at the mouth, completely motionless," Ireland said.
Her daughter-in-law began cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and a passing American Airlines flight crew jumped in to help.
Flight attendant Jay Peterson Jr. took over administering CPR - cardiopulmonary resuscitation - while the other two crew members called for an ambulance and the airport paramedic and comforted the family.
Another person ran for the nearest automated external defibrillator - they are located 90 seconds (walking distance) apart at the airport.
The airport paramedic and firefighter emergency medical technician took over chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth ventilation. They got a pulse through CPR, without shocking her.
Newman remained unconscious for about 10 to 15 minutes and awoke while being rushed by ambulance to Hawaii Medical Center-East, where she was found to have an almost completely blocked left main heart artery.
After bypass surgery, she said she felt better than she had in months, and was expected to make a full recovery, said Ireland.
"It brings a tear to my eyes," said Foster. "It's awesome. They're not close to death. They are dead. It's only because of the courageous actions of citizens that they have a second chance at life."
Don Weisman, spokesman for the American Heart Association in Hawaii, says heart disease is the leading killer of American women, more than the next eight causes combined, including breast cancer.
Women are more likely than men to have signs and symptoms of a heart attack unrelated to chest pain such as neck, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, sweating, lightheadedness or dizziness and unusual fatigue., according to the Mayo Clinic.
For a $29.95 kit to learn CPR, go to americanheart.org/cpr.