Leslie Pitt is a marriage and family therapist whose husband Graham suffered a terrifying sudden cardiac arrest in his sleep while on vacation in Hilton Head Island, North Carolina. In this short and compelling video, she talks about the care they each received from 9-1-1 dispatchers and Fire Rescue personnel – care that not only saved Graham’s life, but significantly reduced her own post-traumatic stress.
While the main focus of emergency responders is always on the person who’s experiencing a cardiac arrest, the psychological trauma of spouses and family members who witness the event is often overlooked amid all the drama. But not by Tom Bouthillet, paramedic, educator and former battalion chief, who explains:
“I’ve had the privilege of interviewing several spouses of patients who have suffered sudden cardiac arrest. What I’ve come to understand is that spouses are the real survivors. Each one has impressed me, but none more than Leslie Pitt. It’s definitely something we need to teach at all levels. It can make a big difference regardless of the outcome.”
Q: How was your own spouse impacted by witnessing your cardiac event? Or how have you been impacted by witnessing your spouse?
NOTE FROM CAROLYN: I wrote more about how a serious cardiac diagnosis impacts both the patient and the patient’s family in my book, “A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease” . You can ask for it at your local bookshop, or order it online (paperback, hardcover or e-book) at Amazon – or order it directly from my publisher, Johns Hopkins University Press (use their code HTWN to save 30% off the list price).