In the early morning hours of September 24, 2015, Springfield resident John Goodrow’s heart stopped. Three times.
Goodrow’s ordeal had begun the night before, when he sat down to eat dinner and watch television after a full day of work at his landscaping job in Agawam, followed by evening errands.
“I noticed that he was pausing to eat, so I asked him if he was okay,” remembers Goodrow’s friend, Stacee Crane. “He didn’t respond, but jerked back suddenly. I asked him again, and he said he wasn’t sure. He was turning gray.”
After that, everything happened fast. Sweating. Chills. Nausea. Heart racing. Baystate Medical Center.
Goodrow collapsed in Baystate's Emergency Department. The ED team worked feverishly to save his life. Medical resident Dr. Benjamin Kitt revived him twice – performing CPR for 14 minutes the first time and 11 minutes the second time.
Later, after cardiologist Dr. Kyle Richards placed a stent in Goodrow's almost completely blocked left anterior descending artery, Goodrow coded for a third time in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) – this time for 9 minutes.
Crane remembers, “You could see the paddle marks. They had worked so hard to save him.”
While Goodrow recovered in the Progressive Care Unit (PCU) in Baystate’s Davis Family Heart & Vascular Center, a young doctor stopped by and asked Goodrow if his chest hurt.
“I’m afraid I’m to blame for that,” the doctor said with a smile. In that moment, Crane and Goodrow recognized him.
“I remembered Dr. Kitt putting his hands over my hands that night, and helping me to calm down and tell him everything that had happened before John came to the hospital,” Crane says. “He had already saved John’s life twice by then.”
Gift of gratitude
Now recovered, Goodrow watches his diet and continues cardiac rehabilitation at Baystate Medical Center. He has returned to work part-time. But he still dreams about his heart attack. And he will never forget Dr. Kitt.
This May, Goodrow arrived at Baystate Medical Center with an entourage of appreciative family members to present a Gift of Gratitude to Dr. Kitt. The two men welcomed the opportunity to shake hands and share a hug.
Kitt expressed his own gratitude. “Things don’t always turn out the way they do on TV, and we’re very fortunate that John had such a good outcome,” he says. “It’s wonderful to see him doing so well. And I’m incredibly grateful to him and his family for honoring me with such a meaningful gift. Their Gift of Gratitude will help other patients, in ways that we can’t even imagine.”