“It’s overwhelming that people cared and took such initiative for a stranger,” said Scott McGuffin. “We have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving,” said his wife, Colleen. “We’re just so lucky to have people who helped and a hospital that has been innovative.”
Eight days before Thanksgiving, McGuffin had a heart attack while driving in Doylestown near the Mercer Museum. He fell unconscious and crashed into two vehicles before slamming into a sign.
Frank Sturza saw the accident, called 911 and ran over and shut off McGuffin’s vehicle, which was revving, authorities said. Cpl. William Doucette of Doylestown police, who was soon on scene, began administering CPR in a desperate effort to save the man’s life, the McGuffins said.
Central Bucks Ambulance personnel arrived and the EMTs used a defibrillator to jump-start McGuffin’s heart. The shock treatment got McGuffin’s heart back into pace just as the ambulance arrived at Doylestown Hospital, said Eugene Vallely, a registered nurse at the hospital.
But McGuffin had experienced a major cardiac arrest and had been unresponsive for about 20 minutes, his heart lapsed in a lethal rhythm, said Vallely. The experts feared brain damage.
“It was very emotional not knowing what was going to happen,” said Colleen McGuffin.
But by last Thursday, McGuffin began to move his fingers and show signs that he could respond to voices, his wife said. By Friday, he could squeeze hands and perform a “thumbs-up” gesture.
“They started taking him off the respirator. That was a big milestone. They began taking out the other tubes,” said Colleen McGuffin. “I started to have a huge sigh of relief that he was going to be OK.”
McGuffin emerged with his long-term memory in working order. Over the weekend he had trouble remembering new things, but by Monday he was already able to recall what had happened the previous day.
He can’t remember the heart attack or accident, but on Tuesday he was walking and talking and expressing thanks for the effort and good fortune that kept him among the living against what medical experts said was fairly steep odds.
In fact, McGuffin’s ribs are what bother him most. Nine of them were broken while CPR was being administered. Vallely said such rigorous CPR was necessary.
“The fact that he got such good quality CPR saved his life,” Vallely said.
McGuffin’s survival was not only emotional for him, his wife and their two adult sons, but also for all involved who helped him, said Vallely.