Savannah woman survives 83-minute cardiac arrest, thanks team that saved her life

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Doctors say she was in cardiac arrest for nearly an hour and a half; her chances of survival were very small. But somehow, 43-year-old Timea Higgins survived.

Higgins says it started in April when she felt severe pain in her arm. When she became unresponsive, Chatham Emergency Services (EMS) Lieutenant Paramedic Pam Cheek and her partner responded to the call.

“She a lot of fight in her, she just never gave up,” said Cheek. While in the ambulance, Cheek says Higgins showed signs of life but did not have a pulse.

Memorial Health Dr. Jason Lowe took over when Higgins arrived at the emergency room.

“She doesn’t remember what happened after that,” he told a room full of paramedics, doctors, and Higgins’ fiance. “She doesn’t have any recollection.”

Interventional Cardiologist Pablo Elizalde says he has never seen a case like Higgins’.

“What is unusual is the length of time that this happened,” he explained. “Usually a resuscitation will take 15 minutes.”

All three first responders agree: saving Higgins took a miracle. She met them for the first time on Wednesday with a congratulatory pin and a hug, as tokens of her gratitude. This week is National EMS Week.

“You have been on my mind and I’ve been trying to think of a way to thank the special people that I will never forget,” she told everyone.

“I had to fight back tears. It was extremely emotional seeing her stand up here and thank us,” said Cheek.

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Memorial Health is using Higgins’ story to remind people that you are more likely to recover from a stroke if you call 911 immediately.

If Higgins did not get help right away, she may not be alive.

“It’s crazy because they’re saving lives and without this job that they have — I wouldn’t be here,” said Higgins.

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