Va. Family Gives Thanks For Saving of Woman's Life

Va. Family Gives Thanks For Saving of Woman's Life

News Sep 22, 2012

Sept. 20--Rick Buker was getting ready for work while his wife, Sharon, peacefully slept.

That was the Caroline County man's normal Saturday morning routine, but something was different on Sept. 1, around 7:15 a.m.

While brushing his hair, he heard her make a strange noise.

"Her breathing was very laborious," he said. "That's really the only way I can describe it."

After calling her name several times and getting no response, he dialed 911.

He was frantic, but was able to listen to dispatcher Debbie Schools as she calmly instructed him over the phone on how to do CPR.

He dragged his wife off the bed, got her to a flat surface on the kitchen floor and, as best he could without any type of training, he followed Schools' directions step by step.

Still no response.

Although it seemed like hours to Buker, volunteers with the Ladysmith Rescue Squad arrived at the Buker home on Bull Church Road within minutes.

Critical care paramedic Erica Cutrona took over the CPR, while Victor Podbiel-ski, a paramedic and firefighter, hooked up the automated external defibrillator, which helps the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.

Continue Reading

"With one shock, we got a pulse," Cutrona said. "That never happens."

Sharon Buker was then transported to Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, where she stayed for five days.

"I was asleep and I don't remember anything except waking up, thinking it was 2006," she said.

Rick Buker said she had to have a breathing tube put in and initially communicated by squeezing his hand to let him know she heard him.

"It could have been so much worse," he said.

Doctors told them she suffered from broken heart syndrome, which is similar to a heart attack and can be triggered by a sudden emotional stress, such as the death of a loved one.

Sharon Buker said she had been dealing with the daily stress of life and raising her 13-year-old grandson.

Besides some trouble with short-term memory and some scrapes and bruises from being dragged, Sharon Buker said she is now improving and is expected to recover.

She celebrated her 59th birthday last Wednesday.

"I can't do the things I used to do, like gardening and being active," she said. "I'm trying to be patient, which is really hard for me."

But she's a lot better off than some patients who had her condition.

In the 12 years that Cutrona has been a paramedic, she said, she has seen many who have not survived.

"I truly believe the CPR that her husband did under the direction of Debbie Schools is what saved her," Cutrona said. "He gives us the credit, but he is truly the one that saved her."

Buker said he can't give enough praise to the Ladysmith Rescue Squad and the doctors at the hospital, who took care of his wife of nearly 34 years.

Since the incident, the Caroline paramedics have been to visit her three times to see how she's doing.

"We're still amazed," Cutrona said. "[Buker's story] is one of the ones you read about in the textbooks, but hardly ever see."

While Sharon Buker can't do a lot of the things she used to do, she still can cook.

And as a form of thank-you, she is cooking a lasagna dinner tonight for the members of the rescue squad who are responsible for her being here today and for going above and beyond.

The Bukers also sent a dozen roses to the dispatcher.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419

Copyright 2012 - The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va.

The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va.
Portsia Smith
The NAEMSP issued a statement in response to the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas.
The uSmartĀ® 3200T NexGen enables emergency responders to perform ultrasounds outside the hospital environment.
Country artists performed for gunshot wound victims like firefighter Kurt Fowler, and expressed their gratitude to first responders and hospital staff who helped others the night of the attack.
In an era where many rely on cell phones instead of landlines connected to emergency alert systems, many residents didn't receive warnings of the fires.
Jennifer Lopez, Stevie Wonder, and Ellen DeGeneres are among the group of celebrities who have raised a combined $30 million to assist with recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.
Krista McDonald died on scene and EMT Peggy Eastman was critically injured after a vehicle broadsided their ambulance.

As unpredictable mass casualty incidents have been increasingly on the rise, the Stop the Bleed campaign aims to teach citizens how to stop severe blood loss to keep victims alive before first responders can arrive on scene.

Duracell's disaster relief program has provided batteries to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, and Louisiana so people can operate their phones, flashlights, radios and other necessary devices.
The Miami Marlins have donated $200,000 to the hurricane and earthquake relief efforts for the devastated areas of Puerto Rico, Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean.
UC Berkeley's Seismology Lab team developed the app to alert users of impending earthquakes so they have more time to prepare for safety.
In addition to sending representatives from a dozen agencies to tend to California, FEMA has sent meals, water, blankets and cots to shelters and provided emergency funds to fire departments and residents.
The app will help teachers and administrators easily communicate during crises and are also being trained by law enforcement on how to act in an active shooter event.
The air quality index is five times what's considered the safe amount, causing symptoms like having trouble breathing, stinging eyes, running noses and scratching throats.
There are other, maybe better ways to reach EMS learners.
The H*VENT vented chest dressing treats not only the presence of air in the chest (pneumothorax) but also allows fluids such as blood to be released from the chest (hemothorax).