Against All Odds Aaron & Crystal Brown

So many times, he defied the odds. Putting a rough past behind him, Aaron put his life back together piece by piece. Then, on a beautiful Thursday morning, Aaron’s wife Crystal got the call from his supervisor. Aaron was unconscious on the shop room floor, and the EMT crew needed to know where to take him. Crystal requested Adventist Health Portland.

When Aaron arrived at the Adventist Health Emergency Department, he had been pulseless and receiving CPR for nearly 40 minutes. Crystal knew the situation was dire when she witnessed his arrival by ambulance. She was told his chances of survival were approximately 5%.

Unbeknownst to Crystal, Adventist Health Portland is the most experienced hospital in Portland in treating sudden cardiac arrest, caring for almost a third of all out-of-hospital cardiac arrests patients in the area, and through the partnership with OHSU’s Department of Emergency Medicine, AHP is currently one of the top enrolling sites in a national research trial for patients suffering from cardiac arrest. Aaron was difficult to resuscitate, requiring multiple shocks and advanced life support medications, but with the seamless transition from his EMS care to the expert team in the AHP emergency department, led by Dr. Joshua Lupton, he was able to regain a pulse. As fate would have it, Dr. Lupton is not only an ED physician and researcher with an expertise in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest resuscitation, but is himself a survivor of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Crystal credits the persistence of the team: “They refused to give up!” Finally, he was stabilized enough to go to the cath lab for two stents to open his right coronary artery.

Aaron was not quite finished testing his luck. During the stent placement, he developed a clotting disorder before his artery was fully stabilized. The cardiologists moved fast to provide as much blood flow as they could, then stopped the procedure to administer blood thinners. Aaron was moved to the Cardiovascular ICU.

Aaron was fighting on two fronts. In addition to his heart condition, he had suffered a brain injury from oxygen deprivation and was kept in a coma to allow his brain to heal and to give the blood thinners time to do their work before the placement of an additional stent to fully open his right coronary artery. Crystal often reflects on the hours and days that followed, while Aaron has no memory of the events that seriously impacted their lives.

Aaron and Crystal are grateful to the Adventist Health Portland doctors and nurses who gave Aaron the gift of another chance at life, and for the hospital that was there when they needed it most.

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