Tennessee Paramedics Save Lady Gaga Fan

A machine slowly lowered Thornton's body temperature and maintained it for 48 hours.


 
 

NICOLE YOUNG, Knoxville News-Sentinel | | Tuesday, April 26, 2011


NASHVILLE - Crystal Thornton couldn't wait to see Lady Gaga at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night.

Then she died.

She was clinically dead for 10 minutes before paramedics were able to revive her at the arena.

Today, the Lyles, Tenn., resident is recovering at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where her doctors say it's a miracle she's alive.

On Tuesday, the 33-year-old Gaga fan was enjoying the opening act with her best friend, Christina Tugman, 32, when, according to Tugman, Thornton passed out and started twitching.

"I thought she was having a seizure," said Tugman, a Nashville resident.

"I got an usher, but I thought he wasn't moving fast enough, so I went and got a policeman and told him she wasn't breathing."

A minute later, Jerry Jones, EMT-IV supervisor with Vanderbilt's LifeFlight Event Medicine program, was at Thornton's side.

"Her head was laid back in her seat, and she did not have a pulse," Jones said. "I immediately got Bridgestone security, and they helped me move her out of the seat. She was about halfway down in the row, so we moved her down the stairs and into the hallway outside the arena so we could work on her.

"We didn't get a pulse back until she went into the ambulance 10 minutes after we got the call."

To save Thornton, Jones and paramedic Shane Clark used a portable automated external defibrillator and performed CPR for more than five minutes.

She was taken by ambulance to Vanderbilt's emergency department, where doctors began to cool her body temperature to about 89 degrees to reduce the risk of brain injury.

A machine slowly lowered Thornton's body temperature and maintained it for 48 hours. She was kept in a coma until Thursday afternoon, said cardiologist John McPherson, director of the coronary care unit at Vanderbilt.

"She's very lucky," McPherson said.

"She doesn't have typical heart disease. She has a genetic condition, a defect in one of the heart muscle proteins that causes an abnormal thickening of the heart muscle.

"It can and did, in this case, lead to sudden death," McPherson said.

Vanderbilt spokesman Craig Boerner said that medical personnel define death as being "without a heartbeat for over five minutes."

McPherson said Thornton had no medical history of heart problems.

Thornton's condition, known medically as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, affects 1 in about 500 to 1,000 people, McPherson said.

"It's not rare, and most people don't know they have it until a life-threatening event happens," he said.



Related Links:


Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, cardiac arrest, cardiac

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Image Trend: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

ImageTrend just challenged NEMSIS TAC and a couple others.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Where in the World of EMS is A.J.?

A.J. Heightman participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in a big way!
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Details on Discipline Released in D.C. Investigation

Interim fire chief claims punishment was not severe enough.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Kentucky Firefighters Recovering from Injuries

One of the four remains in critical condition.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Numerous Rescues during Arizona Flooding

Severe flooding across the region prompted several rescues.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Colorado Hiker Rescue

Injured hiker spent three hours in a crevice.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Airlift at Swiss Train Derailment

Helicopters used to help reach the injured.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >