'He did have the heart attack and died in the car,' Couple shares incredible story
BARRIE, ONT. -- Danielle Gaucher remembers the day her husband went into cardiac arrest like it was yesterday.
"Halfway there, he did have the heart attack and died in the car," she recalls.
Jeff Gaucher's heart stopped on route to the hospital.
But his story didn't end there.
Thanks to the quick-action of family and medical staff in the cardiac unit at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) in Barrie, the Gaucher's can share a happy ending.
It all began when Jeff complained of a fast heartbeat and wanted to head to the hospital. The couple got in the car, and that's when he went into cardiac arrest.
"I called my sister, who is a nurse, and hoped that she would go into nurse mode, but she went into sister mode," Danielle says. "So my nephew took the phone from her, and I just knew for myself I needed to keep talking."
Moments later, they arrived at RVH, Jeff's heart still not beating.
"They took him out and started compressions right on the concrete," Danielle says. "They were just incredible. The team, I later learned, we lead by Dr. Feldman. I just really stood in awe as they worked on Jeff.
He was defibbed three times with a single defibrillator, and then Dr. Feldman ordered the second defibrillator, which we later learned was the "Feldman Method.'"
After 26 minutes, Jeff's heart began to beat.
He was transferred to Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket to be treated at the cardiac intervention unit.
Now, Jeff is engaged in the rehabilitation process at RVH, which is long and ongoing, but he says the staff's support has made the process a smooth one.
"The staff were very informative. They do connect with their patients. Everyone seemed to walk the journey together. They were all connected to their patients. It's informative, and I don't think we walked away with any questions, really," Jeff says of his experience.
Selma Mitchell, director of the cardiovascular program at RVH, says the Gaucher's experience would be very different if it had happened today.
"Now, two and a half years later, Jeff would be loaded into our elevator and brought directly to our fourth floor where the cardiac intervention unit is, where we would perform that lifesaving procedure. After having a heart attack, early access to a cardiac intervention unit saves lives," Mitchell says.
Still, Jeff and his family are forever grateful for the care and support he received.
"It was a great process. I mean, it was traumatic, but there is a lot of ease in your mind when you have great staff," he says.
Contributions from the community have helped to transform cardiac care at RVH.
Watch the RVH Spirit of Giving Streamathon on Thurs., Nov. 26, starting at 10 a.m. to find out how you can support patient care closer to home.