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Feature Article More than Fit: SamFit Heroes

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Seven years after his second heart attack, Pay Hynes of Corvallis is serious about keeping his heart healthy and staying in shape. Six days a week, the SamFit member gets on the stair climber at 6 a.m. and exercises for 30 to 60 minutes.

Following his workout one day in December, at the Albany SamFit location, Hynes collapsed outside the locker room.

“I saw him go down, and when I ran over to check on him he was unconscious,” said Rose Negrete, a fellow SamFit member who is also a nurse at Samaritan Family Medicine – Geary Street in Albany. “I grabbed the AED, Travis came over and someone called 911 immediately.”

Travis Giboney, a detective lieutenant with the Albany Police Department, and Negrete worked together to monitor Hynes. When his breathing and pulse stopped, the pair began emergency chest compressions and breathing, and shocked Hynes’ heart twice with the AED trying to restart it.

The Albany Fire Department and paramedics arrived quickly and took over, shocking Hynes’ heart three more times before his condition was stable enough to transport him to the hospital.

At Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis, doctors discovered Hynes had a ventricular tachycardia, an event where the bottom chambers of the heart beat very rapidly and the heart is not able to adequately pump blood to the body or back to the heart. The condition often results in sudden death if not treated immediately with a defibrillator. A defibrillator was implanted to prevent a recurrence.

Hynes doesn’t remember anything after getting off his machine in the gym and feeling lightheaded.

“Quite frankly, the planets were all in alignment,” he said. “There was a police officer and a nurse there who both knew what to do when I collapsed.”

Hynes’ collapse at SamFit has created new awareness among members of the facility about the location of the AED and the importance of knowing CPR. SamFit has also added additional panic buttons around the facility in case of an emergency.

Negrete and Giboney both complete annual CPR training as part of their jobs. “I’ve done CPR several times on people, but this is the first time I’ve had to use an AED outside of training,” said Giboney. “Pat looked dead when we were working on him, but by that night he was doing great.”

“This was the first and hopefully the last time I’ll have to do CPR on someone outside of a training situation,” said Negrete. “But it turned out perfectly this time and that’s the most important thing to me – that he’s doing well.”

Six weeks after his event, Hynes was cleared to resume exercise and is back at the gym.

“I still get people coming up to me every day and wishing me well,” said Hynes. “I’m extremely grateful to everyone who helped me, prayed for me and wished me well, but I know I was lucky. I was just in the right place at the right time and there were people around me who knew what they were doing.”