SHAKOPEE, Minn. June 19 2018 – An ordinary drive home from playing hockey with friends the Friday before the Minnesota Super Bowl is now a pivotal moment in the life of Patrick Ouellet.
“I started feeling some chest cramps that felt unusual,” Patrick says. “This one was more like somebody was putting a weight or was squeezing my chest and it progressively got worse.”
Patrick decided to start driving towards St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee to be safe and eventually pulled into the parking lot.
“I was making a b-line for the emergency room and that’s the last thing I remember,” Patrick says.
Patrick’s car went over the curb and crashed next to the building by the emergency room.
Hearing it all was the hospital’s security officer Joe Ryan who just happened to be working an earlier shift than normal that day. “It was cold and I was tired, so I thought ‘I’m just going to go out and wake up a little bit,’” Ryan says.
Ryan broke the windows of the car to get to Patrick, who was unconscious. Emergency room staff took over from there as Patrick went into full cardiac arrest.
His heart was kept pumping by what’s called the Lucas machine, which automatically applies chest compressions.
Patrick was eventually transferred to Abbot Northwestern Hospital where he underwent surgery to remove a blockage in one of his arteries and spent a number of days in an induced coma.
“I literally woke up five days later at Abbot Northwestern,” Patrick says. “Missed the Super Bowl completely.”
Thanks to the quick action of all involved, Patrick was back home less than two weeks after the incident starting rehab, with no damage to his vital organs.
Registered nurse Elyse Meger helped treat Patrick in the St. Francis Emergency Room that day and says Patrick is “very lucky” to be alive.
Patrick is now able to come home to his family every day thanks to the group of people at the hospital who jumped to action, starting with a security officer in the right place at the right time.
“There’s no doubt that I owe him my life,” Patrick says about Ryan. “Had he not been there minutes would have passed. It certainly would have had a huge impact.”
This story is a lesson in knowing your body and when something might be off, but also how quickly strangers can become leading roles in our story.
“You don’t know who’s going to impact your life. You really don’t,” Patrick says. “We’re all connected in one way or another.”