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A Medical Miracle: Back from the Dead

49-Year-Old Survivor of Cardiac Arrest Thanks Fast Responders and White Plains Hospital Emergency Care Team and Technology for Saving Her Life

White Plains, NY (PRWEB) April 2, 2009 -- Siegrid Buhlheller, a 49-year-old White Plains wife and mother of two children--who recently suffered a life-threatening cardiac arrest-- thanked the individuals responsible for saving her life: the White Plains police, EMTs and the medical staff of White Plains Hospital Center's (WPHC) state-of-the-art Emergency Department (ED).

As part of the acute care she received, Mrs. Buhlheller became the first patient at the Hospital to undergo a therapeutic hypothermia treatment used to cool the body temperature of cardiac arrest patients to 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours. The Hospital had acquired the hypothermia blanket less than a week before Mrs. Buhlheller had been admitted. WPHC is the first hospital in Westchester to implement the hypothermia treatment and now has five hypothermia treatment units available for patients.

"The complete recovery of Mrs. Buhleller's is nothing short of a medical miracle," said Timothy Haydock, WPHC Director of Emergency Medicine said. "She was not only successfully resuscitated and brought back from a 'primary sudden death' but she did not suffer any neurological impairment which is unusual for patients who suffer from cardiac arrest."

Because Mrs. Buhlheller has no memory of the events surrounding her serious medical emergency, her husband Berthold--together with representatives of the fast responders and medical team--recounted at a press conference today the events of February 25 when she suffered a sudden loss of heart function at home. White Plains Mayor Joseph Delfino and other city officials and Hospital representatives joined in celebrating the sequence of events and actions by the fast responders and medics that led to Mrs. Buhlheller's survival.

Upon receiving the 911 call at 7:27 a.m., the White Plains police officer Andrew Harrington and an ambulance were dispatched to the residence. Officer Harrington found the patient not breathing and administered CPR. Police Officer Kevin Olenchak (EMT) arrived on the scene to assist, and the officers attached an automated external defibrillator (AED) unit which assessed the patient and advised shock. One shock was administered and CPR was resumed.

Minutes later, a Police Emergency Services Unit truck arrived on the scene with Police Officers Robert Demodna (Medic) and Edward Calvano (EMT), followed by a Transcare ambulance with paramedics Alyssa Berkowitz (medic) and Sharina O'Neal (EMT) to provide advanced life support services. By 7:58 a.m. the ambulance was in route to White Plains Hospital Center, arriving at 8:02 a.m.

Upon arrival at the Emergency Department, Mrs. Buhleller underwent intense care over the next three and a half hours including the therapeutic hypothermia treatment. At noon, she was transferred to the ICU. She was discharged a few days later without showing any neurological effects and is gradually resuming her normal daily routine under medical supervision.

White Plains Mayor Joseph Delfino rejoices at the good fortune of Mrs. Buhlheller to have fallen ill in a city so prepared to come to her aid. "Our Department of Public Safety is trained and equipped to be one of the best in the nation. The fact that the Police arrived on the scene within three minutes after getting the call is hard proof of that," he said. "White Plains enjoys a very close partnership with the Hospital and we are in awe of their constant upgrades to bring medicine's latest to the people they serve."

Steven M. Meixler, M.D., Director of WPHC's Department of Medicine, said the emergency care nurses "played a pivotal role in the minute-by-minute care of this patient and the remarkable outcome." Dr. Meixler was instrumental in spearheading the campaign for the Hospital's acquisition of the hypothermia blanket and for setting up the protocol for its use. "Thanks to gifts from generous Westchester families with close ties to the hospital, we were able to obtain this state-of-the-art technology."

Jon B. Schandler, WPHC President and CEO, stated: "This is a very happy day for our community. Mrs. Buhlheller was returned to her family, thanks to a great team comprising well-trained police and paramedics, a superb hospital with exceptional physicians and nurses, advanced medical technology and individuals who care deeply for and support White Plains Hospital Center."

White Plains Hospital Center (WPHC) is a 292-bed voluntary, not-for-profit health care organization with the primary mission of offering high quality, acute health care and preventive medical care to all people who live in, work in or visit Westchester County and its surrounding areas. Centers of Excellence include the Dickstein Cancer Treatment Center, The William & Sylvia Silberstein Neonatal & Maternity Center, The Ruth and Jerome A. Siegel Stroke Center and The Westchester Orthopedic Institute. The Hospital has the busiest Emergency Department in Westchester County, treating more than 45,000 patients a year. White Plains Hospital Center is a seven-time winner of the Consumer Choice Award, an honor given to the nation's top hospitals by the National Research Corporation. WPHC is a member of the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System and the Stellaris Health Network, Inc. For additional information, visit


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