Woman Dies in College Station, Comes Back to Life

By: Nicole Morten Email
By: Nicole Morten Email

A College Station woman who doctors say died for at least ten minutes.... is now very much alive today. She credits the quick thinking of doctors and the help of the worlds smallest heart pump for bringing her back to life.

Doctors are calling the events that took place on the night of July sixth....nothing short of a miracle.

"I understand that night...I died," said College Station resident Fonda Wilson. "When I woke up they asked me if I could remember what had happened and I couldn't. They said it was a good thing because they had to save my life...bring me back to life."

That night College Station resident Fonda Wilson said around 2 a.m. she began having chest pains at her home. She was rushed to the College Station Medical Center where she went into cardiac arrest. Dr. Mario Lammoglia said she was suffering from a massive heart attack--which statistically carries a 90 percent mortality rate.

"With this massive heart attack her blood pressure was very low," said Cardiologist Mario Lammoglia. "Basically it was so low that it was incompatible with life, this is what happens when someone's blood pressure is 40 or 50 millimeters of mercury."

Inside the emergency room, doctors say Wilson's heart stopped beating and for the next five to ten minutes Wilson was lifeless.

"Time is muscle and literally a difference of minutes can make a difference of someone surviving a heart attack or dying," said Lammoglia.

"I sure didn't want to die," added Wilson. "I sure wanted to live."

But before death could settle in, doctors inside the cath lab were able to bring Wilson back to life.

"We were able to go in and cross the blockage with an angioplasty wire and we were able to stent it," said Dr. Lammoglia.

Dr. Lammoglia credits his team and a piece of technology that is revolutionizing modern medicine. It is called the Impella.

"Due to the technology we brought here to the Brazos Valley, the Impella, it's essentially an artificial heart," said Lammoglia. "It actually sustains the body's demand for blood, so it basically does the work of your heart while your heart recovers."

The Impella device only stays in the body temporarily.

"We put it in through the artery in the groin and after five days of giving the heart rest we were able to pull the actual device out," said Lammoglia.

Up until July 6th, the Impella had only been used three times in the Brazos Valley; Wilson's heart attack makes number four. Dr. Lammoglia said the next closest hospital that uses the Impella is located in Houston.

"With this Impella device, the chance of survival is 80 percent chance with a 20 percent mortality rate," said Lammoglia. "The Impella device is instrumental and invaluable in helping us perform these very complicated procedures that we've done here."

Taking life one day at a time, Wilson said she is just thankful for the gift of life.

"I am just grateful I got a second chance," added Wilson. "I think there was a lot of prayers and thoughts and a lot of good people looking after me and the good Lord."

"She's a testament of how well this worked, it's incredible," said Lammoglia.

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