Dan Rupp: "Thank You for Going the Extra Mile"

It was just one hour into the workday at 9 a.m. on Monday, September 16, 2013. Dan Rupp had just come out of his usual Monday meeting at International Automotive Components in Huron. The healthy 41-year-old dad of four was waiting for his co-worker and decided to sit down in a back corner of the plant. All of a sudden, he began to perspire and he felt short of breath.

“I suddenly felt a squeezing sensation in my chest,” Dan said. “I don’t remember anything after that.”

Dan was in full cardiac arrest. Thankfully, his coworkers immediately called 9-1-1 and just as he began to arrest, emergency personnel arrived. That was the first time medical professionals had to shock his heart back to life…the first of more than fifteen times medical professionals would save Dan’s life that day.

On the way to Firelands Regional Medical Center Emergency Room, the EMS team transmitted Dan’s EKG to the ER staff using the LIFENET® system, purchased by donated funds to the Firelands Regional Medical Center Heart Center in 2011. This nearly-instant transmission of information meant the emergency room and Cath Lab staff could provide faster care. When Dan came into the Emergency Room, he coded several more times. Afterward, the staff told Dan his heart stopped for more than 19 minutes at one point, and the nurses and physicians had to administer CPR to keep him alive.

Once in the Cath Lab, Dr. Ryan Christofferson, an interventional cardiologist, and the staff had to slowly thread the wire into his heart, stopping more than a dozen times to shock his heart into working again. One of the pieces of equipment used to rest Dan’s heart was an intra-aortic balloon pump, purchased in 2013 through donations made to the Firelands Heart Fund.

cardiac arrest“Everyone was working hard to keep him with us… and no one was giving up,” said Bill Turton, Director, Emergency Services. “One of the nurses was shouting to Dan to ‘keep fighting’. She was his most vocal cheerleader, and I think he heard her.”

Dan spent several days recovering from his life-threatening heart attack, but he is not alone. Firelands Regional Medical Center Heart Center sees patients every day with symptoms like Dan had, and works hard to keep everyone’s hearts strong and healthy.

Now, weeks after suffering a major heart attack, Dan Rupp wants to say thank you to everyone who saved his life: the physicians, the nurses, the emergency personnel, his co-workers and donors who gave Firelands the funds to purchase equipment necessary to keep him alive.

“Thank you for going the extra mile,” he says, “I’m so grateful for the care I received at Firelands. If any of you would’ve given up, I wouldn’t be here today.”