St. Luke's University Health Network

Saved My Life

"St. Luke's Saved My Life"

Patient Thanks St. Luke's Emergency and Transport Services

Quakertown, PA (3/11/2010) - On February 20, fifty-three year old Daniel Gruen went into sudden cardiac arrest and was found unconscious on the floor in the Giant Supermarket on Broad Street in Quakertown.

First responders from Upper Bucks EMS were shopping when the overhead page was announced. They began CPR and within a few seconds ambulances from St. Luke's Emergency Transport Services (SLETS) arrived. The Quakertown Police Department and Quakertown Fire Department arrived on the scene to assist SLETS and were successful in recovering a pulse with early CPR, early defibrillation and medications.

“It is great to know that the emergency medical services system works in Quakertown,” exclaimed Kermit Gorr, Executive Director of St. Luke's Emergency Transport Services. “I am very proud of all of the community providers who had a part in giving Daniel a second chance at life.”

Daniel Gruen's Care Team gathers for a group photo. Photo includes cardiac arrest patient Daniel Gruen and wife Donna Gruen. Also pictured are members from St. Luke's Emergency and Transport Services, St. Luke's Quakertown Emergency Department, St. Luke's Cardiology Associates, Upper Bucks EMS, Quakertown Police Department and Giant grocery store managers who all had a hand in saving Daniel Gruen's life.

Successful Treatment at St. Luke's Quakertown and Bethlehem

Daniel was transported to St. Luke's Quakertown Hospital, where the diagnosis of an occluded coronary artery was correctly made; he was then rapidly transported to the Bethlehem Campus for emergency coronary angioplasty. Cardiologist Peter R. Puleo, MD, and the catheterization lab team were able to place a coronary stent and successfully restore blood flow to his heart within minutes of his arrival. On this particular weekend, Daniel was one of four heart attack victims successfully treated by Dr. Puleo at St. Luke's.

Direct Transport to Catheterization Lab Saves Valuable Time

As of January 2009, in the event of a cardiac arrest, emergency transport services initiate a pre-hospital STEMI alert whereby the entire team is activated. Additionally, as of October 2009, when a patient meets specific guidelines they are transported directly to the catheterization lab, bypassing the Emergency Department, which saves valuable time. As a Network, the process is seamless to patients transferred to both St. Luke's Hospital - Allentown Campus and St. Luke's Hospital - Bethlehem Campus.

Jennifer Sprankle, RN MSN, Director of Clinical Quality Improvement, states, “Since initiating the process of taking the patient directly to the catheterization lab, St. Luke's has further decreased door to balloon time to an average of 23.5 minutes, well below the established guideline of 90 minutes.”

St. Luke's Heart Services

St. Luke's Heart Services include a full range of care for heart-related diseases and conditions. Whether a patient is experiencing chest pain or in need of heart surgery, they offer world-class, comprehensive care by a team of expert cardiologists, heart surgeons and specialists who work together on a customized treatment plan for the patient.

Marcus A. Averbach, MD, Medical Director of the St. Luke's Chest Pain Center, explains, “Due to the hard work of all involved, and the processes that St. Luke's has in place, Mr. Gruen has a chance of making a full recovery.” Dr. Averbach continues, “Residents in and around the Quakertown area can rest assured that these processes will give them immediate access to the care that saved Daniel' life.”

Nine Cardiac Monitoring Units in Community

Two years ago St. Luke's Emergency & Transport Services ran a community campaign to raise funds to buy important life-saving equipment including advanced cardiac monitors for all St. Luke's paramedic units. Through a $15,000 grant secured by State Representative Paul Clymer, funds raised by St. Luke's Quakertown Hospital Golf Outing, private donations, and an investment on behalf of St. Luke's, nine cardiac monitoring units were purchased.

Representative Clymer shared, “I am gratified that the funds that were secured for the cardiac monitor resulted in saving the life of Mr. Gruen. So often we hear of events where a person may have lost a life due to lack of medical equipment. This story has a happy ending with Mr. Gruen continuing his walk in life with family and friends.”

The right combination of staff, equipment and the community helped save Daniel's life. With tears in his eyes, Daniel stated, “St. Luke's gave me a second chance at life and for that I am grateful. If it were not for everyone's efforts that morning, I would not be here today. They are all truly heroes.”