Critical care patient Campbell Hess and his wife got to meet the firefighters and JCL staff who saved Hess’ life several weeks ago.
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A second chance at life
Staff Report~ 7/9/2014
PHOENIX – Several weeks ago, Campbell Hess came very close to death.
Hess was in his Anthem home with his wife when he began feeling ill and short of breath. He thought that he was suffering from heatstroke, but he chose to call 911 in case it was something more serious. That decision helped save his life.
When Daisy Mountain Fire Department paramedics came to Hess’ home, they took his vitals and ran preliminary tests. Concerned by the results, paramedics elected to take him to the hospital. The plan was to go down to the John C. Lincoln Hospital at 27th Avenue and Deer Valley Road. However, while being transported in the ambulance, Hess went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics made a snap decision to get off the I-17 and rush Hess to the new JCL hospital at Dove Valley Road and I-17. That was the second decision that helped save Hess’ life.
On June 28, Hess got to meet the firefighters and ER staff who saved his life the night he had his massive heart attack. Smiles and hugs were exchanged as the group gathered to wish Hess well on his road to full recovery.
“It’s good to be here,” said Hess to the firefighters and ER staff at the June 28 gathering at JCL Sonoran.
The hospital’s Clinical Coordinator Chris Stewart recounted the events of the night of Hess’ heart attack for Hess, who doesn’t remember much beyond calling 911.
“You required to be shocked three times,” Stewart told Hess.
DMFD paramedic Rodney Stubbs described the ambulance ride that night.
“You asked, ‘Am I having the big one?” Stubbs said. “We tried to put your mind at ease.”
The firefighters all noted how good it was to see Hess alive and well, a point in patient care that they don’t often get to see.
After DMFD firefighters made the emergency decision to take Hess to JCL Sonoran instead of JCL Deer Valley, Hess was rushed into the ER there. ER physician Monique Bushman was on duty that night. Bushman described for Hess the scene in the ER and how he had fought ER staff, showing them that even in the midst of coding, he was a fighter.
“You fought it the whole time,” Bushman emphasized. “You wanted to live.”
Hess’ wife shared her story of how she kept praying through the drive to the hospital and the worry of waiting.
“Everything fit in place,” she said. “All you folks are angels.”
She also shared Hess’ last words to her as he left with firefighters the night of his heart attack.
“He said, ‘Don’t forget my glasses.’” This brought a round of laughter to the paramedics and medical staff.
Hess addressed the group, thanking them for saving his life and noting how the experience had changed his life.
“Lives just change,” he said with deep emotion. “It’s made me rethink my priorities.”