Eighty-year- old Nancy Simley’s only concern about going to the dentist is to be on time. For 20 years, she has never wanted to keep Dr. Roy Daniels waiting.
Her September appointment was no different. Nancy stepped into Dr. Daniels’ Sedona, Arizona, office early enough to chat with the receptionist before heading into the operatory for routine crown work.
Nancy took a seat in the dental chair, and that’s the last thing she remembers. What happened next, Dr. Daniels will never forget.
After greeting Nancy, Dr. Daniels left the room for a minute. His assistant recalls Nancy telling her she was not feeling well.
“When I walked back in, I immediately recognized Nancy was unconscious,” says Dr. Daniels. “I had volunteered for the fire department for years so I am familiar with that certain look. She had one leg off
the chair and was not breathing.”
A team member immediately called 911, and Dr. Daniels asked his assistant to bring the oxygen and the automated external defibrillator (AED), which he and his
staff had been trained on a few months earlier. With Nancy still in the dental chair, he attached the electrode pads and waited while the ZOLL® AED Plus® went through its analysis. It advised a shock, which Dr. Daniels administered.
Needing a hard surface to administer CPR chest compressions after the shock, he and his assistant transferred Nancy to the floor. He shoved the dental chair to the side and began CPR. He continued compressions until the fire department arrived approximately 10 minutes later.
“The AED was coaching me to push harder,” says Dr. Daniels. “Even when the fire department took over CPR, the AED said to push harder.” The AED Plus features Real CPR Help®, which gives real-time feedback for both the depth and rate of chest compressions during CPR.
Nancy was transported to Verde Valley Medical Center in Cottonwood, where she was placed into a medically induced coma and had her body temperature dropped to reduce her body’s demand for oxygen. She regained consciousness three days later. During her time in the hospital, she experienced two more sudden cardiac arrests from a blocked anterior coronary artery. She underwent surgery to implant a stent and a pacemaker.
“My cardiologist said that out of the hundreds of patients he has treated, only three have survived with my same situation,” Nancy says. “He calls me a miracle.”
After attending cardiac rehabilitation for a few weeks, Nancy is now on a fitness routine and back to her regular routine.
At the time of Nancy’s sudden cardiac arrest, the Board of Dental Examiners of the State of Arizona did not require AEDs in dental offices. In anticipation of a board mandate, Dr. Daniels purchased an AED for his office four months before Nancy’s incident.
“I learned a valuable lesson,” Dr. Daniels adds. “I thought an AED in the office would probably never be used. I thought the AED companies were just trying to ‘make it the standard’ to sell more. I have changed my mind about this. I believe the AED saved my patient’s life. I am now a firm believer that every dental office should consider having an AED.”
Nancy, too, believes that the AED is the reason why she survived. “I don’t think I would have made it without the AED,” says Nancy. “Absolutely, it saved my life. Dr. Daniels took safety seriously and did the right thing by equipping his office with an AED and training his staff. That’s the type of person he is. I call him my hero.”