Cindee Goodling, 33 had everything going for her, a husband, a 3-year-old daughter and a pregnancy into its 20th week when her heart suddenly stopped beating putting all of that in jeopardy.
When she arrived in the emergency room of Memorial Hospital of South Bend, Indiana, the doctors felt compelled to pull out all the stops in their efforts to save her. A method of cooling the body was often successful in such cases but wasn’t recommended in cases where the patient was pregnant but it seemed to be their only option.
The calamity struck while Goodling was attending a church movie night. Fortunately for her, a doctor, an electrician and an off-duty cop were there to take turns administering CPR. When the ambulance arrived, the rescue team used a defibrillator to start her heart rhythm. It took four or five applications to get her heart going.
By the time she reached the emergency room, she had a steady pulse but remained unconscious. These two conditions are considered good indicators that the therapeutic hypothermia will work. The technique involves chilling the body rapidly to slow its metabolism. Research has demonstrated that the method can increase survival chances and provide protection to post-cardiac arrest brain cells. By decreasing the body’s demand for oxygen and slowing the speed of degeneration of tissue, the patient has a better chance of recovering with less damage and fewer health issues.
The problem is the technique hadn’t really been studied in pregnant women so it wasn’t recommended. With time passing and other options not really available, the team decided it was their only option to save her life. Dr. Sundararajan had used the technique successfully on non-pregnant patients and after a few phone calls, decided to go with it.
Now 36, Goodling is not only alive and well but the mother of a healthy little boy named Collin though everyone calls him “Zap” in deference to the defibrillator that saved the lives of he and his mom.
Both mother and son have been monitored carefully for the last three years. Collin has hit all his developmental marks and his mom is preparing to run in her first 5k event.
Goodling is grateful doctors took the chance they did and worked a miracle. She credits them with saving her life and that of her unborn child. She wants to see others benefit from what doctors were able to do for her and her family.