Erin Lepage, medical assistant at Quabbin Adult Medicine, had finished working the day in the medical specialty practice when, without warning, she collapsed in sudden cardiac arrest. “I was feeling good all day and don’t remember the incident at all,” she said.
“What I learned after was that my co-worker Stevia Bara and Dr. Donald Blair, a neurologist who was the provider seeing patients in the Medical Specialty Practice where I work, immediately started CPR after I became unresponsive,” said Erin.
Within moments, several colleagues joined in to help. “I later learned that a defibrillator was used to bring my heart back into normal rhythm,” she said.
“Once I was stabilized in the Baystate Mary Lane Emergency Department, I was transferred to Baystate Medical Center and cared for by cardiologist, Dr. Fadi Chalhoub.”
“Dr. Chalhoub told me that my cardiac arrest was caused by an abnormal rhythm and that my heart suddenly went into what he called Ventricular Tachycardia,” Erin said. “While I was an inpatient at Baystate Medical Center, my heart went into that abnormal rhythm again so Dr. Chalhoub installed an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD), a battery powered device that was placed under my skin that would keep track of my heart rate.”
“After a two week stay, I was discharged from the hospital in good health and now see Dr. Brian Laliberte, cardiologist at Baystate Wing Hospital on a regular basis,” Erin said.
“An ICD is a device that has thin wires that connect to your heart,” said Dr. Laliberte. “If an abnormal heart rhythm is detected, the device will deliver an electric shock to restore a normal heartbeat. The ICD is monitored on a regular basis. It provides helpful information about the patient’s heart rhythm in addition to lifesaving therapy. The device may be checked remotely at the patient’s home as well as in the office.”
Erin says the collaboration of her treatment shows the strength of Baystate Health’s integrated delivery of care and was seamless and exceptional through her journey between the Baystate Mary Lane Outpatient Center, the Davis Family Heart & Vascular Center at Baystate Medical Center, and follow-up care at Baystate Wing Hospital.
Now back at work and feeling well Erin said, “I am grateful to all my colleagues at Baystate Mary Lane who gave me lifesaving emergency care, and to the cardiology team at both Baystate Medical Center and Baystate Wing Hospital for taking care of my heart. I would have never thought that this could have happened to me and I am grateful for everyone who did their part to help me. They saved my life and I’m forever thankful.”