Woman saved from ‘massive heart attack’ while visiting daughter in hospital

Photo Details: Woman saved from ‘massive heart attack’ while visiting daughter in hospital

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A San Antonio woman is getting a second chance at life after suffering a massive heart attack.

For a moment, there was a real possibility that 77-year old Estella Ruiz would not be sitting here today.

A week and a half ago, Ruiz was at Methodist Hospital visiting her daughter who was recovering from surgery.

“I was there talking to her and that’s all I know,” said Ruiz.

Ruiz felt off and blamed her symptoms on low blood sugar.

But a nurse insisted she get checked out in the emergency room.

“She was tremendously lucky,” said Dr. Jeff Dellavolpe, director of the cardiovascular ICU at Methodist Hospital.

A scan and EKG revealed something wasn’t right with Ruiz’s heart.

Within moments of getting to the ER, Ruiz collapsed

“She had a massive heart attack,” said Dellavolpe.

Doctors say for the next 42 minutes Ruiz technically was dead.

“Nothing we were able to do was able to restart her heart,” said Dellavolpe.

Doctors put this chest compression device on Ruiz to help with CPR, pumping blood through her body.

Then they used what’s called an ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) machine, where oxygenated blood was restored back to Estella’s brain and body.

“Everything happened at the right place and the right time for her,” said Dellavolpe.

While on the ECMO machine doctors opened Ruiz’s heart vessels and were able to fix a blockage they found during surgery.

“There’s not enough words in my mind in my heart to say what I want to say but I say thank you,” said Ruiz.

About ECMO

Patients with severe cardiac and respiratory failure now have an option for air transport on ECMO with a specially trained ECMO team and mobile ECMO unit.

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We work with the air carriers to identify facilities that can place your ECMO patient. All it takes is one call to mobilize our team, ensuring the fastest response time to transport your ECMO patient safely and efficiently.eam and mobile ECMO unit.