Boris Guillome

Photo: Boris Guillome (center) with Sean Reiswig (left) and Andrew Wong,
			 MD (right).
Photo: Boris Guillome (center) with Sean Reiswig (left) and Andrew Wong, MD (right).

Boris Guillome experienced sudden cardiac arrest on Monday, February 18, 2019. Thanks to the kindness of strangers—and the excellent care he received at Queen of the Valley Medical Center—he lived to tell his story.

It was President’s Day and Boris had decided to go to a movie. As he looks back on that fateful day, he recalls as the movie previews started, he felt tightness in his chest. The pain intensified; he knew something was wrong. Boris staggered towards the lobby, making it only to the ticket stand, where a custodian helped him to a bench. Then everything went black; his heart had stopped.

That’s when the clock started ticking for Boris because “time is muscle.” The faster a physician can restore vital blood flow, the less likelihood there is of long-term damage to the heart muscle.

Lucky for Boris, Sean Reiswig had just entered the theater with his family. Watching Boris fall to the ground, Sean, whose own father had died from a heart attack exactly two weeks earlier, knew he had to help. While the custodian called 911, Sean checked Boris for breathing, rolled him on to his back and began CPR.

Napa City Fire Department paramedics arrived minutes later and immediately set up communication with the radio nurse at Queen of the Valley Medical Center’s Gasser Emergency Department (ED). The paramedics resuscitated Boris by shocking his heart with an assisted external defibrillator and conducted an ECG—the first test when cardiac arrest is suspected—to record the electrical activity of his heart.

The paramedics sent the ECG results to the Queen’s ED and while Boris was in transport, the Emergency doctor was reviewing his test and assembling a cardiology team.

At 2:19pm Boris was wheeled through the doors of the ED. At 2:20 Cardiologist Andrew Wong, MD, was at his side. At 2:40, Boris was transferred to the Cath Lab for an emergency percutaneous coronary intervention. Twenty-two minutes later, Dr. Wong completed a stent placement.

Did you know that the national standard for “door-to-balloon time” (arrival at the hospital to balloon inflation) is 90 minutes? At the Queen, our goal is 60 minutes—or less. Thanks to the Queen’s 24/7 comprehensive cardiovascular services, Boris’s team beat the national average by 48 heart-preserving minutes!

One in five Americans suffers from heart disease. In Napa County, it is the second leading cause of death. Maintaining such a high level of cardiac care at the Queen takes all of us joining together.

Thankfully, Napa is a “Heart Safe Community.” That means we have established a chain of survival to improve our system for preventing sudden cardiac arrest from becoming irreversible death. This includes promoting widespread CPR instruction, making public-access AEDs readily available, and putting in place aggressive resuscitation protocols for first responders and area hospitals. With cardiac care a top priority here, the Queen strictly adheres to this program.

Fast, expert emergency care was the key to saving Boris’s life. Once Dr. Wong had completed the stent procedure and his heart rhythm was stabilized, Boris spent two days at the Queen recuperating. In that short time span he was cared for by medical teams from nearly every other department—the lab, pharmacy, imaging, cardiology, ICU, med-surg, telemetry and more. Doctors, nurses, nurse assistants, lab technicians, radiologists and administrators all worked to ensure the best possible outcome for Boris.

Until that Monday, Boris considered himself a healthy 44-year-old; he worked out five days a week, never smoked and ate well. But anyone can be affected by heart disease. That’s why this comprehensive care is available for every patient who comes through our doors—any hour, day or night—thanks to generous donors like you.

Boris knows his fate may have been very different if it weren’t for the compassion of strangers, the rapid response of the paramedics, the cardiac team at the Queen—and most importantly, our community’s generosity, which helps make high-quality cardiac care a life-saving reality in Napa Valley.

1000 Trancas Street • Napa, California 94558 • (707) 257-4044