Saved by CPR! Westlake Couple Now Wants to ‘Pay it Foward’

Westlake residents Ken and Sue Wagner are on a mission: To get the word out about CPR.

Ken and Sue Wagner

Ken and Sue Wagner

CPR saves lives. It saved Ken’s life

Ken’s story was shared at the University Hospitals St. John Medical Center All About You event held at LaCentre April 11.

Ken’s story told how his wife’s knowledge of CPR, the guiding voic

e of Westlake 911 Dispatcher Nancy Jewitt and the timely arrival of Westlake Police Officer Steve Paulick, with defibrillator equipment, and Officer Josh Frey combined to get him to UH SJMC where an emergency staff was at the ready to save his life.

A video presentation captured the drama of the 911 call. But the life-saving efforts were underscored by one critical fact: Ken’s wife, Sue, knew CPR!

Without CPR, nothing else would have mattered.

So, the mission of the All About You presentation was to get as many people as possible signed up for free CPR classes at UH St. John Medical Center.

Surviving the Widow-Maker

“Just a couple of months ago, Kenny suffered what they call a ‘widow-maker’ heart attack,” said Mike Gallagher, a friend of the Wagners who produced a professional video that was central to the All About You presentation.

“His wife performed CPR and was able to maintain his viability and life until a police officer arrived about 7 minutes later, and then the first responders.

“Ultimately, all of them working together and then the doctors and the nurses at the hospital managed to bring him back from death. He is so grateful to all of them, and especially his wife, that he is out to share his story. He wants people to learn CPR.”

The Drama

Kenny’s heart attack was the so-called ‘widow-maker,’ because it affected an artery that most often proves fatal.

But, because of Sue’s CPR knowledge, the talk-through of what to do from Westlake 911 dispatcher Nancy Jewitt (who guided Sue’s CPR through the 7-minute phone call) and the defibrillator work of Westlake Police Officer Steve Paulick, Kenny was rushed to UH SJMC where the expert cardiac care there saved his life.

Last week’s All About You event presented a two-fold opportunity for the Wagners: To get the word out about CPR, and to bring attention to the world-class cardiac care available at UH St. John Medical Center.

“Ultimately, in my eyes, this was a real love story,” said Gallagher. “We should all be so lucky as to have someone so willing to fight for our every last breath.”

Gratitude

Nancy Jewitt, Sue Wagner, Off. Steve Paulick, Firefighter/Paramedic Paul Carroll, Lt. Tim Brick and Ken Wagner.

Nancy Jewitt, Sue Wagner, Off. Steve Paulick, Firefighter/Paramedic Paul Carroll, Lt. Tim Brick and Ken Wagner.

“Cadillac” Kenny Wagner (a one-time collegiate basketball star at Edinboro University and sales leader at Robert Morris Cadillac) is filled with gratitude for his wife’s CPR knowledge, the emergency care provided by Westlake emergency squads, and expert cardiac care he received at UH SJMC. Interventional cardiologist Ramesh Brahmbhatt, MD, performed a stenting procedure, with a subsequent defibrillator implanted by Cardiac Electrophysiologist Robert Mosteller, MD.

“The care I received there was just top notch,” said Ken. “There is another hospital out there that says it is Number One, but University Hospitals St. John Medical Center is Number One to me. They care for you like you are their own.”

Karen Casement, RN, my nurse, she just never left my side,” he said. He also credited respiratory therapist Lynn Gorton, exercise physiologist Jessica Sedlacek, and Brian Munson, RN, for their care and compassion.

Sue Wagner agreed. “Lynn at cardiac rehab prayed with me and, like Jessica, was always very concerned about Kenny. They helped me as much as they helped him,” she said. “It’s just crazy how God lined all this up for us.”

Matthew Sheehan, EMT-P, EMSI, EMS & Disaster Coordinator at UH St. John Medical Center demonstrates CPR.

Matthew Sheehan, EMT-P, EMSI, EMS & Disaster Coordinator at UH St. John Medical Center demonstrates CPR.

CPR

Ken’s recovery has inspired the Wagners to do more. “I knew CPR, and without it Kenny would not be here today,” said Sue.

“Now, even though I know CPR, I want to get CPR certified myself so I can teach it. We also want to get CPR out to all new parents and also to high schools. Those are my goals.”

The mission got off to a good start at the All About You program. 132 guests signed up for free CPR classes at UH SJMC.

Thank You

UH SJMC President Robert G. David and Dan Ellenberger, Director, EMS Institute University Hospitals presented Westlake emergency personnel with recognition for their roles in Ken’s event.

Nancy Jewitt is the dispatcher heard on the video who received Sue’s 911 call, walking her through CPR and providing support until the first responders arrived. Westlake Police Officer Steve Paulick was the first to arrive on the scene and used a defibrillator on Ken. Westlake Police Officer Josh Frey arrived on the scene shortly after Officer Paulick and offered assistance. The EMS crew from the Westlake Fire Department included FF Paul Carroll, FF John Kish, FF Matt Moran and Lt. Tim Brick. The EMS crew took over care from Officer Paulick and Officer Frey and transported Ken to the hospital.

The 911 Call

Professional videographer Mike Gallagher is an Erie, Pa. video journalist and storyteller who assembled the video of Ken Wagner’s saga in both dramatic and moving style. Mike and Ken have been friends since their college days at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. The video gives viewers rare insight into the urgency of care offered by emergency professionals as well as the need to learn and know CPR. Here is the link:  vimeo.com/188387347 or view it below.

All About You

Soon Park, MD, Chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery and co-director of University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute addresses guests at the April 11 UH SJMC All About You event focused on cardiac care. His presence underscored UH SJMC’s commitment to world-class care right in Westlake.

Soon Park, MD, Chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery and co-director of University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute addresses guests at the April 11 UH SJMC All About You event focused on cardiac care. His presence underscored UH SJMC’s commitment to world-class care right in Westlake.

Professional presentations for the All About You speaker portion of the program were Cardiologist Lori Rusterholtz, MD, Cardiac Surgeon Salil Deo, MD, and Cardiac Electrophysiologist Robert Mosteller, MD.

Guests were also welcomed by Soon Park, MD, Division Chief, Cardiac Surgery, UH Cleveland Medical Center and Co-Director, Harrington Heart and Vascular Institute, University Hospitals.

Their presence sent a clear message to the community – that world class cardiac care is available right here in Westlake at UH St. John Medical Center and the UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute located there.

The panel of physician experts spoke on vital topics related to heart health. Following the presentation there was an opportunity to have questions answered.

Topics included:

  • Heart healthy living – diet and exercise
  • Cardiovascular risks
  • Signs and symptoms of heart disease
  • Cardiac testing
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Current treatment options for heart disease.
Click here to view the entire gallery of the UH SJMC All About You event.

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