Daughter saves dad with CPR

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By Leslie Moore


She didn't have time to panic. She didn't have time to doubt whether she knew the right steps.

When Angie Corbin's mother, Leslie, told her to climb in the back seat to help her father, she quickly began performing CPR.

"I didn't really realize that I was doing it until after it happened," Angie said.

Sunday, May 18, started out as a typical day for the Corbins. Although Leslie was scheduled to work that day, another employee needed to trade shifts, so she had the day off. She started making breakfast for her family while her husband, Ronnie, chased their dog around the house.

"Then he went back to the bedroom, and when I turned around and looked, he was bent over holding onto the bed post," Leslie said.

She wiped his face with a cool washcloth and had him step outside to get some fresh air. But when they came back inside, Ronnie was still short of breath and his chest was hurting.

About a month earlier, Ronnie had another episode where his chest started hurting. He started to feel better a few minutes later.

"I said, 'Do you need to go to the hospital?' And he didn't want to go," Leslie said. "But we should have went that day."

This time, Leslie knew they had no time to waste. Barreling down KY 210 on their way to Taylor Regional Hospital, Ronnie's condition quickly worsened. About three minutes from the hospital, he collapsed in the backseat.

"That's when he had the massive heart attack," Leslie said.

Although Angie, 14, had no CPR training, her instincts kicked in, telling her to do chest compressions. When the Corbins finally arrived at the hospital, Leslie ran inside and a nurse rushed to help. Angie didn't stop compressions until Ronnie was loaded onto a stretcher.

The several hours they spent at the hospital were a blur for the Corbins.

"The first 30 minutes we were there, he was not alive really. It was just them trying to get him back," Leslie said.

After Ronnie's condition stabilized, he was flown to Jewish Hospital in Louisville. During a cardiac catheterization procedure, an artery with a 99 percent blockage collapsed, causing him to have another heart attack.

"It was very up in the air those first few days," Leslie said of her husband's chance of survival.

But he lived. And all of Ronnie's doctors told the Corbins that Angie's quick thinking is what saved him. She was presented with the Pewter Award by the staff and thanked by his doctors at Jewish Hospital for her role in saving her father.

Lisa Richerson, Taylor County Middle School guidance counselor, learned what Angie did from an anonymous caller. Angie was recognized and received much applause during the eighth-grade award ceremony.

Richerson also contacted Campbellsville/Taylor County EMS to find out if they could help recognize Angie. Mike Curnutte, deputy director at EMS, told her about the Sarah "Mom" Weeks Community Service Award, which recognizes individuals who perform outstanding service to their community. She will be presented with the award at EMS' annual awards banquet in December.

"If she hadn't been with me that morning - just me trying to drive him and get him there - he wouldn't have made it," Leslie said.

Ronnie says he has no memory of that day or the several that followed.

"There's a lot he's going through that we probably don't even realize. His mind's trying to come back and focus," Leslie said. "That's just another thing that goes with that I didn't realize went with a heart attack."

The only time Leslie left her husband's side was to attend Angie's eighth-grade graduation and their son Zack's high school graduation. At first their children didn't plan to attend their graduation ceremonies, but it was important to Ronnie that they went. They are planning to get copies of the ceremonies so Ronnie can watch them.

Ronnie came home on May 30. For now, he has to wear an external defibrillator vest that can administer shocks if he has another heart attack. He will find out at his next doctor appointment July 2 if he is strong enough for surgery to receive a pacemaker.

"I have good days and I have other days where I'm still tired," Ronnie said.

But he said he is convinced that God has given him a second chance for a reason. And that he is thankful for Angie.

"Angie's my little hero," Ronnie said. "I love her."

After the Corbins' experience, Leslie said she wants her family to receive CPR training.

Richard Phillips, CPR coordinator at TRH, said the hospital offers a free CPR training class for anyone who wants to learn the basics of performing CPR.

"We offer that class free every quarter and we would be thrilled if that class was packed," Phillips said. "However, often times people don't see the need for CPR until they have a situation in the family where someone needed CPR."

According to Phillips, the primary issue with people who aren't properly trained in CPR is that in most situations, their efforts are ineffective. Phillips said the sternum is the area of the body where compressions must be performed.

"If you do them too high, they're ineffective because the chest is too strong. You do them too low, you're just mashing on their stomach," Phillips said.

And if the airway is not cleared, breaths can go into the patient's stomach instead of their lungs.

He said an added benefit to CPR training is people also learn how to correctly handle airway obstruction. He said the chances are everybody at some point in their lifetime will have to deal with an airway obstruction.

"If you take the class, you understand where to push, when to push, what to do and you're so much more efficient in what you're doing," Phillips said.

To register for TRH's free CPR training class, call (270) 789-6111.