LGMC Nurse Practitioner Saves a Life


LAFAYETTE – Staff of both Lafayette General Medical Center (LGMC) and the University of Louisiana gathered in the hospital’s main lobby on Friday to honor LGMC nurse practitioner and UL instructor Deedra Harrington. Harrington was presented with the hospital’s distinguished "Making a Difference” award by President and CEO David Callecod.


The award recognizes LGMC employees for actions above and beyond, which Harrington certainly did on Monday, Jan. 9, giving lifesaving CPR to a jogger who had collapsed.


Harrington was returning from a lunch break when she saw a man lying on the track at Girard Park. She says she thought he’d just passed out, "A few bystanders were standing over him so I thought he was taken care of. I kept going, but something (inside) immediately told me to turn around.”


The, then sixty-five-year-old runner, Gary Dodson, had been jogging in the park a few minutes earlier and suddenly collapsed. One onlooker called 911, but Harrington says when she arrived on the scene no one was performing CPR. She immediately began performing rounds of compressions on Dodson’s chest. Retrieving a CPR mask from her car, she continued CPR until an ambulance came on the scene.


When Dodson arrived at Lafayette General, it was determined that he’d suffered a major heart attack, from a right coronary artery blocked 99 percent, and was taken into the cardiac catheterization lab. When he woke the next day, he told family members that he didn’t have any recollection of what happened. Later that day, he received a visitor to his ICU room in the form of Harrington.


Later, Dodson spoke to his doctor, Cardiologist, Dr. Christopher Daniels, and discovered that he was lucky to be alive. Although Dodson reportedly exercised daily, ate a balanced diet and didn’t smoke or drink, he has a family history of heart disease.


Daniels, a cardiologist with Cardiovascular Institute of the South at Lafayette General, says Dodson didn’t have any warning signs and probably would have passed a stress test. "When someone suffers from cardiac arrest in the field, time is of the essence,” he stresses. "He was lucky to have someone to perform bystander CPR and lucky to be so close to a hospital.”


Dodson is doing well, recuperating at home and has since celebrated his sixty-sixth birthday.




According to Ella Beth Goetschius, BS, RN, and Training Center Coordinator for LGMC Training Center of American Heart Association, 75 percent of all sudden cardiac arrests happen at home and many times no one knows how to administer CPR. Goetschius says, "If no bystander CPR is provided, chances of survival are reduced 7 to 10 percent with each minute of delay until someone begins defibrillation with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).


Training residents and employees alike to be rapid first responders with CPR is vital. That is why the Annual Heart Starter Mass Training will take place again this year in the Cajundome on Saturday, April 14 with two sessions, 8am to 10am and 10:30am to 12:30pm. The training is free and open to anyone middle school age and older.


As another preventive heart service to the public, Lafayette General is offering free electrocardiograms on Saturday, February 25 at the Burdin Riehl Office Building, across from the hospital. The EKG’s will be read by an interventional cardiologist from Cardiovascular Institute of the South, partners of Lafayette General. Information will be transferred to a personal wallet-sized medical identification card––the first of its kind in the nine-parish Acadiana area. The double-sided card will provide an actual 12-Lead baseline EKG on one side and essential emergency information and cardiac history on the other. This will assist emergency physicians in facilitating rapid and accurate treatment time in the event the card-carrier has a cardiac event.




About Lafayette General Medical Center

Lafayette General Medical Center, a 353 staffed bed facility, is the largest full-service, acute-care medical center in the nine-parish area of Acadiana. LGMC provides families with comprehensive medical services at every level of care, from severe emergency trauma to the common cold. Lafayette General evolved from Lafayette Sanitarium, a six-bed facility that opened in 1911, and has been a leader in health care throughout its existence. Over the years, LGMC has expanded its services and facilities to meet the community's growing needs.


Lafayette General Medical Center is recognized by federal and state tax laws as a 501c(3) not-for-profit corporation. Although the hospital generates money by billing for its health care services, it does not pay out any revenue to shareholders, as for-profits do. Any net revenue is reinvested into the organization for new equipment, facilities, and technology to better care for the people we serve.


As the region’s only community-owned and managed hospital, all decisions are made locally by an experienced administrative team and a volunteer Membership Corporation and Board of Trustees. At LGMC, you can count on us to stay one step ahead of the changing face of health care. For general information, call (337) 289-7991.

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