Patient Story: Eugene Janvrin
The People & Places behind Eugene’s Story
- Pilot: Karl Hatlemark | CommSpec: Jeremy Bean
- Nurse: Katie Sturgis| Paramedic: Luke Jackson & Jillian Sheltra
- Asset: L2 helicopter
- Location: Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center
Eugene Janvrin’s job as a pipelayer often leaves him tired at the end of the day, but one night last May his exhaustion was so extreme he fell into bed at 8 pm. Three hours later he awoke “feeling like a chain was tightening around his heart.” With heart disease in his family, Eugene suspected he was experiencing a heart attack and his wife rushed from their home in Palmyra to Sebasticook Valley Hospital in nearby Pittsfield.
Eugene was experiencing a particular type of heart attack, known in medicine as a “STEMI” which needed rapid specialized cardiac catheterization and stent placement. He said he started to perk up after receiving heparin and nitroglycerin, which helped relieve the pain and improve blood flow to his heart, and was sitting up in bed when LifeFlight arrived to transport him to Eastern Maine Medical Center. “I’d never flown before and I was kind of looking forward to riding in the helicopter,” Eugene remembers. But his heart had other plans for the ride. He went into full cardiac arrest three times and had to receive multiple shocks and CPR while enroute.
“I remember coming to, and people were yelling and doing chest compressions on me,” says Eugene. What Eugene didn’t know was that when the helicopter landed at EMMC’s helipad, a second LifeFlight crew was preparing to depart, so the two LifeFlight teams worked together to bring Eugene back. “Katie and I had never worked together before, but because of our training, we were able to fall into our roles and work together seamlessly,” recalls RN Cameron Bird, who was at the helipad when RN Katie Sturgis, her partner Luke Jackson, and orientee Jillian Sheltra touched down with Eugene.
Eugene’s memory of the ordeal is hazy, but he shared this. “I remember waking up to caring faces that I could tell were smiling through their masks. I knew I was in the best hands possible.” Together the crew wheeled Eugene into the Cardiac Cath Lab where doctors removed a critical blockage and installed a stent.
Since then, Eugene says he’s made significant positive life changes that include giving up vaping, losing 50 pounds, and cutting back on fast food. But the best news of all is that after trying for many years to start a family, his wife Tiffany is pregnant with their first child. It’s a change he attributes directly to living a healthier lifestyle.