Paramedic Survives Severe Asthma Attack

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , /

Dre Dominguez: I went to work that morning
and I had this overwhelming sick feeling and I went to work and I thought, “Oh man, I’ve
just got to get into work and they’ll see that I don’t feel good and then I can go home.” Daniel King, Fireman Engineer Paramedic, San
Diego Fire Rescue: That morning it was really the first call of the morning. I hadn’t really
seen her, I can only see her in passing at the station. It was a simple medical aid.
We happened to arrive at the same time the ambulance did so there were already several
other paramedics there along with us. Dre: We grabbed the equipment and we went
upstairs in the elevator and I walked out. I went to walk up to the patient and I felt
super short of breath. Daniel: We were considering calling an ambulance
for her, taking her to one of the urgent care. She kind of denied it. “I think I’m feeling
better,” drove back to the station and she immediately got in the car and left, was going
to go to a real doctor. Dre: It got worse and worse as I got home
and I thought, “Nothing’s getting better” so I told my roommate, “I need to go to the
ER now.” Dr. David Willms, Medical Director of Critical
Care Services, Sharp Memorial Hospital: Dre came in through our emergency department with
an abrupt onset of a very severe asthma attack. She was treated very aggressively with the
usual kinds of therapies for an asthma attack but she got very much worse within a short
period of time and shortly after being admitted to the hospital had to be intubated. Dre: I actually told one of the chiefs that
were there helping me, “As a friend, don’t let them intubate me because I don’t think
I’m going to come back.” I just had that impending doom feeling. Dr. Willms: She had one of the most severe
cases of an asthma attack that we’ve ever seen and was not only not responding well
to the usual medications but even while she was on the mechanical ventilator — breathing
machine — she wasn’t doing well. Daniel: This was right around at the same
time that we’re finding out that this is very serious and she might not even last a day.
And then we hear about this bypass type of machine is how they described to us or in
layman’s terms it’s an ECMO device and the idea behind it. Dr. Willms: A simple way to think of it is
like putting a patient on a heart-lung machine where the blood is removed from the body through
a large tube placed in a vein in the body and then circulated through an artificial
lung so we were able to turn the ventilator way down so that the pressures went way down
and allowed her lungs to rest and for the treatments for her asthma to take effect at
which time then we could get her off the ECMO. Daniel: That thing saved her life. She was
the right candidate. She has the physical fitness before and the right mindset but if
it wasn’t for that there was no way she was going to live, I think. Dr. Willms: Given her age and her occupation
it’s even more of a happy story because of the good that she can give back to the community
and people that she takes care of. Dre: Everything has returned to normal. My
pulmonary function levels are 125 percent. I’ve had two separate doctors tell me that
I have supernatural lungs. I’ve done CrossFit, I’ve done dirt biking, I’ve gone surfing and
I’ve been able to return to every activity that I’ve done before. There’s not a day that goes by in my life
since I’ve been here that I haven’t told my story and my story is about the staff at Sharp
Memorial. They really worked for me. I had phenomenal care and they really performed
a miracle and I thank them every day that I walk around and today’s a good day. Thank
you, because these people at Sharp, they really did the job.

10 thoughts on “Paramedic Survives Severe Asthma Attack

  1. Glad you're okay but you still look puffy-eyed [like you've been coughing a lot] and have an asthmatic sound to your voice. I suffer from it and it never lets you go.

  2. Pressing lips firmly together opens up chest airways by a reflex arc and is the true antidote for asthma. It is a scandal that docs are only interested in drug treatment. I had decades of asthma, but am fully recoverd.

  3. then they give you a cocktail treatment and steroid shot and send you home.
    the ER,I had to fight with,to get admitted

  4. I am a severe asthmatic & easily triggered. Do you know what triggered your Asthma so severely? You likely know now that yo should have gone to the Hospital sooner. I have to go in an Ambulance. The Doctors said if you stop breathing in a car no one can help you, in an ambulance they can help you. You don't say but did you use any inhalers before going to the hospital? I have to carry a EpiPen to use in case the ambulance is delayed, not fun.

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