Barbara Meyer, 69, knows there’s a big, beautiful world out there—and she and her husband, Bill, aim to explore as much of it as they can. The Meyers have enjoyed traveling and seeing the nation’s most beautiful sights.
“We just love to travel. We’ve been to many places in the states and in Europe—and on several cruises,” she said. The Staten Island resident was in the midst of planning a paddle wheel cruise on the Mississippi river when her husband started having trouble with his knee. Barbara said Bill couldn’t even bear weight on his leg without difficulty, so they went to get it checked out at the Staten Island University Hospital emergency department.
“Bill was being examined—he had an X-ray and was being set up for crutches,” she explained. “So I went out for a quick bite to eat and to the store, and returned to the hospital when he was being discharged. We were just about to leave when everything went black. I went into cardiac arrest right there.”
A previously undiagnosed heart condition put her into refractory ventricular fibrillation (v-fib), a serious form of heart arrhythmia that may have taken her life if she hadn’t happened to be standing in the middle of the emergency room when it occurred. Luckily, emergency physicians Dr. Elias Youssef and Dr. Rodrigo Kong, along with the department’s residency team, were able to work quickly, performing advanced cardiac life support and reviving her.
“The residents worked beautifully as a team. They immediately intubated Barbara, obtained central access and worked in synchrony with the nurses, giving medications and performing CPR,” Dr. Kong stated. “They performed like a team that has worked together for 20 years—they were the real stars.”