Joaquin Cigarroa, Cardiology and Candace Funicello, Apheresis
July 2013 Golden Rose Recipient
Submitted by Judi Workman
On Wednesday April 3 as Dr. Cigarroa sat in seat 25C and I sat in seat 25 B on AA Flight #1009, the gentleman in seat 24D suffered a cardiac arrest. We were roughly 90 minutes into flight and at a cruising altitude of 29K feet. Recognizing immediately that "our patient" did not have a pulse, Dr. Cigarroa and an OHSU nurse in 25 E pulled the patient into the aisle and began CPR. She was Candace, from Apheresis. As the flight crew gathered the AED, got the scissors, etc., CPR continued, and just as the AED pads were placed, "our patient" began to take some shallow respirations and began moving. We never needed to use the AED.
The entire episode lasted roughly 3 minutes. His wife who was sitting next to him and was clearly distraught, was able to communicate to us that her husband had a heart transplant at OHSU 13 years ago. The "patient", once he was able to speak again, indicated that he had been followed at OHSU by Dr. James Mudd. We made an emergency landing in Salt Lake City, and as only he can do, Dr. Cigarroa asked "the patient" if he had even been there. Now was his opportunity to see the town. Once landed, medics boarded the plane and assumed care for "our patient".
There was applause, an acknowledgement from the pilot and many individual expressions of thanks to our Dr. Cigarroa for the dual role he fulfilled today as rescuer and guardian angel. Candace was his assistant, and me, the back-up on the bench. What is the likelihood that the same 4 people would sit within the same 6 seats on an airplane? I don't know but I do know that I witnessed a miracle on that day.