Celebrated each year on October 16, World Restart a Heart Day is a global awareness day highlighting the importance of rapid and effective bystander CPR. When bystanders happen to hold an RQI eCredential, results can be significantly improved from typical out-of-hospital cardiac arrest events with untrained bystanders. For a Kansas City nurse, her RQI-honed skills became an essential lifeline in the most unexpected of places: an NFL pregame party.
Kathleen Henderson, RN, MN, APRN, ACNS-BC, SCRN, LNC is a Neuro Clinical Nurse Specialist/Stroke Program Coordinator at Shawnee Mission Medical Center and a life-long Kansas City Chiefs superfan.
She and her sister have dressed up in costumes since 2003, creating a series of pun-filled banners to accompany their Chiefs-themed habit costumes with phrases including “We are Chiefs Fans Bar Nun,” “In the Habit of Loving Chiefs,” and “Thy Chiefs Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done.” A tongue-in-cheek take on the traditional clothing of Catholic nuns, the sisters became a staple at all home games at Arrowhead Stadium, earning the nickname of “The Eternal Order of the Arrowhead Zone.”
Photo courtesy: KCTV5
Their popularity among fans earned them an invitation to the local news station’s special pregame show, Red Friday, for the Chiefs’ home opener against the San Francisco 49ers. Kathleen and her sister arrived at the FOX4 studio in Kansas City dressed in their costumes and carrying their “punniest” banners, met another Chiefs superfan, “Darryl” (name changed for privacy). Not only had Darryl not missed a home game in 29 years, he and his wife had become famous with stadium tailgaters for their customized Chiefs-themed school bus driven to each home game.
In a Matter of Seconds
Darryl arrived at the news station in his school bus and was met with cheers from other superfans and FOX4 staff. It was a beautiful fall day in Kansas City – the television crew set up inside his bus to give viewers a tour and the show’s anchor interviewed Darryl. However during the interview, Darryl started to feel unwell and began sweating, despite the cooler outdoor temperature. Moments after the interview ended, Darryl began gasping for breath and collapsed inside the bus.
Kathleen immediately rushed towards Darryl, instructing others to call 911 and asked for help laying him down on the floor of the bus. Kathleen noted that he lost his pulse and knew he went into cardiac arrest. She immediately began CPR as several others rushed forward to provide assistance.
Kathleen Henderson, RN, MN, APRN, ACNS-BC, SCRN, LNC, Neuro Clinical Nurse Specialist/Stroke Program Coordinator at Shawnee Mission Medical Center shares how she used RQI-honed skills at a NFL pregame party in Kansas City.
Taking the Lead
Utilizing the instructional leadership skills honed in her RQI education, Kathleen quickly established herself as the team lead and began coaching the others in their CPR delivery. “As the team leader, I made sure they were doing compressions as well as I was. At one point, I had to stop someone to say, ‘Your hands are in the wrong position, you need to move them up a little bit, so they’ll be more effective. You’re doing a great job,’” recalled Kathleen.
“As the team leader, I made sure they were doing compressions as well as I was. At one point, I had to stop someone to say, ‘Your hands are in the wrong position, you need to move them up a little bit, so they’ll be more effective. You’re doing a great job,’”
When EMS services arrived, Kathleen reported to the paramedics the details of the situation and that Darryl had been receiving effective CPR for over 20 minutes. Rushed to the hospital, Darryl was immediately admitted to the catheterization laboratory where staff determined his major heart artery was fully blocked. He underwent emergency surgery to have a stent placed in his artery to reestablish blood flow.
Saving a Life
After the surgery, the cardiologist informed Darryl’s family that his chances of survival were less than 5% and credited the immediate performance of CPR by Kathleen and others for his slim chance for survival. “Had he not received CPR immediately after his heart stopped beating, he would not have lived,” recalled Kathleen of the cardiologist’s assessment.
After 12 days of intensive care, Darryl awoke in the hospital with no lingering brain or neurological damage. Kathleen shared her gratitude and pride in being part of the process to care for Darryl, “I totally attribute the skills I received from RQI as to helping me save this individual.”
World Restart a Heart Day is a reminder that all clinically-trained CPR learners, like Kathleen, may need to use their skills when least expected, both on-shift and within their communities, even at an NFL-pregame party. The RQI Digital Portfolio of American Heart Association programs, including Resuscitation Quality Improvement® (RQI®) and HeartCode® Complete, safely and effectively achieves CPR quality improvement for learners who may encounter these intense situations.