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Memorial Delivers Lifesaving Care After Traumatic Collapse

Tobin sat down at the dinner table one evening and woke up almost three weeks later in a hospital bed. He has little memory of what happened in-between.

But his wife and children have vivid memories of that September afternoon.

"He just collapsed," says Tobin’s wife, Angeline. "I didn’t know what to do."

Daughter Hansa quickly dialed 911 and paramedics arrived six minutes later. They revived him, but his heart stopped again in the ambulance on the way to Memorial Regional Hospital.

Tobin arrived at the emergency department unresponsive and on life support. Because he had been deprived of oxygen, doctors determined Tobin needed a cutting-edge procedure called therapeutic hypothermia. Memorial Regional Hospital was among the first in South Florida to offer this procedure, which essentially freezes the patient’s body for 24 hours in order to preserve brain cells and function.

The next step was a heart catheterization. The procedure showed Tobin – who at 66 had no history of cardiac problems – had severe coronary artery disease.

"We realized Tobin was a time bomb for another massive cardiac event,’’ says Lance Cohen, MD, MBBCh, FCCP, Medical Director of the Heart Surgical Unit at Memorial Regional Hospital.

The team consulted with Richard Perryman, MD, Chief of Cardiac Surgical Services for Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute and decided open heart surgery was the best option. Tobin’s family agreed.

Dr. Perryman successfully performed triple bypass surgery on Tobin, but recovery would require more time.

"For about three weeks Tobin was on life support and was critically ill," Dr. Cohen says. "He was in terrible shape."

Slowly, Tobin began showing signs of improvement and was eventually transferred to the ventilator unit at Memorial Hospital Pembroke.

That’s where Tobin woke up.

At first, the native of India – who grew up in Malaysia and has lived in the United States for 22 years – says he wasn’t sure where he was. But as time went on, Tobin realized he was in a hospital and remembers thinking he must be a very important person because he was receiving such incredible care.

"I thought, ‘Why are they treating me so nice? Surely they don’t treat everyone this way,’’ he says.

Gradually, Tobin says, "I realized I was not the president. I realized this is how they treat everyone.’’

Quality Care for Patient and Family

Tobin continued to make progress and soon the ventilator was removed. After spending time in respiratory therapy at Memorial Hospital Pembroke, Tobin was transferred to the Rehabilitation Institute of South Florida at Memorial Regional Hospital South. There, he spent 10 days in rehabilitation, learning to walk again and to do other tasks necessary to resume his regular routine.

Finally, Tobin went home. Within weeks, he was back at his job as manager of an auto repair shop.

Now, Tobin watches his diet and walks about three miles a day to stay in shape.

"The great part of this story is how the system as a whole took care of this patient," Dr. Cohen says.

In fact, the quality of care Tobin received – from the second his daughter dialed 911 through six weeks at Memorial – is a major reason he survived, Dr. Cohen says.

Tobin agrees, and says he is thankful to the Pembroke Pines Fire Rescue who responded so promptly and for Memorial’s doctors, nurses and staff who treated his family well, keeping them updated on his condition.

"I know they were a big comfort to my wife and kids,’’ he says.

Angeline, who along with their three children spent long days and nights at Tobin’s side, says it was a "painful, but very educational experience."
 
"They included the family in everything,’’ Angeline says. "At Memorial, they not only took care of my husband, they took care of all of us."

 

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