When a woman collapsed in a River Oaks area supermarket on April 21, three doctors with McGovern Medical School were there to revive her.
Four days later, when a man collapsed at a Pearland gym, a fourth doctor was there to administer lifesaving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR.)
Talk about being at the right place at the right time. Two doctors are with the Department of Anesthesiology, one with the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and one with the Department of Pediatrics.
It was the first time any of the four had performed CPR in a public place.
“Anesthesiologists specialize in management of critically ill patients in the hospital, both in and out of the operating room setting. Our anesthesiology residents are part of the ‘in house’ code response team, as they are highly skilled in airway management and cardiac resuscitation,” said Carin Hagberg, M.D., holder of the Joseph C. Gabel, M.D. Endowed Chair in Anesthesiology and chair of the Department of Anesthesiology.
“These success stories illustrate how fortunate these individuals were to receive immediate care from physicians who are well trained for saving lives,” said Hagberg, who sees patients at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.
The first rescue involved pediatric resident Surabhi Kaul, M.D., and her husband chief cardiology fellow Ketan Koranne, M.D. Anesthesiology resident Yuen Cheng, M.D., also was there and will join the anesthesiology faculty this fall.
Kaul and Koranne were picking up groceries and Cheng was shopping for a cellphone when they heard a cry for help.
“I was standing at the checkout counter when I heard someone shouting ‘Call 911. A woman has collapsed,’” said Kaul, who graduated from DY Patil Medical College in Mumbai, India. “My first instinct was to rush to the site where I found a woman collapsed.”
Kaul was soon joined by her husband – a graduate of the Grant Medical College in Mumbai – and Cheng, who said the woman had no pulse and appeared to have agonal breathing.
The three doctors did chest compressions and were able to revive the woman with a defibrillator. She was conscious when EMS officials arrived and took her to Harris Health System’s Ben Taub Hospital. She was reportedly making a recovery.
“Your training takes over and you just start doing it,” said Cheng, who graduated from Stratford High School, The University of Texas at Austin, and UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Cheng is also a volunteer with Team Rubicon, a disaster relief service organization staffed by veterans and qualified civilians.
The doctors’ quick response comes as no surprise to the faculty members who trained them.
“Dr. Ketan Koranne represents the finest characteristics of a trainee at McGovern Medical School and has been a role model to all of our cardiovascular fellows,” said Francisco Fuentes, M.D., the Theodore R. and Maureen O’Driscoll Levy Endowed Professor in Cardiology Research and director of the Cardiology Fellowship Program at McGovern Medical School.
“He exemplifies excellence in all that he does and continues to set the highest standards for all of our trainees who participate in the chain of life to save patients with heart attacks and sudden death,” Fuentes said.
Michelle Barratt, M.D., M.P.H., professor and associate program director of pediatrics at McGovern Medical School, said, “Dr. Surabhi Kaul is a wonderful pediatrician, and I am so glad she was there for this emergency. She is also very humble, and I know she feels very awkward being placed in the limelight for helping save this woman’s life.”
The second rescue happened while Timothy Pawelek, M.D., was working out. Pawelek is an assistant professor of anesthesiology at McGovern Medical School and performed a fellowship in cardiac anesthesiology.
“An elderly man collapsed while walking on a treadmill. He was technically dead. There were no pulse and no breathing,” said Pawelek, who graduated from Falls City High School, St. Edwards University in Austin and McGovern Medical School.
With the aid of three nurses at the gym, Pawelek performed CPR on the man.
“He was responsive when the ambulance arrived and took him away. I haven’t received an update on his condition,” said Pawelek, who has performed CPR on about 15 inpatients.
Pawelek is a member of the Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute Texas Medical Center.