The last thing Nathan Strutt remembers about his job interview at Intel Corp. in Hillsboro two weeks ago is walking into the lobby. Two hours later, he went into cardiac arrest, also known as sudden cardiac death.
Little did Strutt, a 27-year-old PhD student in chemistry in town from Chicago, expect that turn of events, let alone that he would make Oregon medical history. But earlier this week, he became the first person in the state to receive a brand new type of implantable defibrillator that will save his life should he ever go into cardiac arrest again.
“It’s definitely nice to know it’s there in case we need it,” Strutt said in a phone interview from his Chicago home, where he’s recuperating. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet that all this happened.”
It all started around 9 a.m. on Feb. 20. Strutt arrived at Intel’s campus to interview for a job as a modular engineer in the area of applications for microprocessors. The interview was supposed to last several hours, but at 11:30, he suddenly slouched over in his chair, unconscious.
His pulse was checked and the Intel First Responders summoned. They performed CPR and shocked his heart back into action with a defibrillator. Then he was swiftly transported to the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center ER.
Experts at the Providence Heart and Vascular Institute spent a week trying to figure out what was wrong with his heart. Strutt had no history of heart problems, nor is his heart abnormally shaped, said Dr. Randy Jones, an electrophysiologist with the institute (that’s a cardiologist who specializes in heart rhythm disorders).
The interview was on a Thursday, and Strutt didn’t regain consciousness until Saturday.
“I really didn’t understand what was going on until Monday,” Strutt said.
He has no recollection of the presentation he gave that morning. He contacted Intel and asked if he needed to submit anything else, but they said they have everything they need.
Strutt is hopeful he’ll receive an official job offer, but right now he’s processing the unexpected and life-changing events of the past two weeks and the new object inside his body.
“It’s hard to believe,” he said, “but I’m glad it’s there.”