Bond may also hold the distinction of being the only individual to have a dog play a vital role in his resuscitation and recovery.
As everyone from the 911 operator, paramedics who arrived on the scene, the doctor, nurses, hospital staff and Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis joined Roy and his family at the heart and vascular lab conference room in the old Emergency Center building — there was an overwhelming sense that everything had come together perfectly to save a life on that day — something Pat Bond, Roy’s wife, gives credit to God for and is thankful for what she calls the “tools” He used to perform “a miracle” for her family.
Everyone sat together in one large conference room listening to details of how a death turned into life through the power of prayer, an amazing dog, and a medical team that were alert and skilled in performing an outstanding job.
As David Sink, the practice administrator with Physicians Services of Cleveland and a Bradley County EMS worker for 33 years, introduced the Bond family, all eyes turned to Pat as she stood. The room went silent.
“We got up that morning on Aug. 2, had breakfast, and my husband took Shadow for her normal walk,” Pat said. “Roy came home and said, ‘I think I needed to go to the chiropractor,’ because he felt like his ribs were out. I said, ‘Honey, would you like for me to take you?’ He said, ‘No. I’ll just ride down there and be back.”
When he returned around 11 a.m., Pat said her husband told her he “felt great” and was going to go watch one of his favorite shows on TV. This gave her an opportunity to check her emails. But as she reached the end of the hall, Pat said she heard a “strange noise” and called out, “Roy? Roy! What’s the matter?”
Pat rushed down the hall and said she saw her husband on the floor in a fetal position, lying on his left side with his knees drawn up, head flailing, arms and fingers curled up and a gasping noise coming from his throat.
“The first thing I said was, ‘God, please help me! Give me the strength and wisdom to help this man! He is the love of my life and I am not willing to let him go!’ Then I called 911.”
Pat got down and tried to pull Roy over on his back, but couldn’t.
“I said, ‘Please, God, give me strength! I need your help. Then Roy rolled over just like he was an infant.”
At this time Kris Willis, the 911 operations manager, was talking Pat through the steps to do compressions, something Pat had never done before.
“I put my hands on Roy’s chest and said, ‘Please, God, help me! I need your help now. All of a sudden I pushed down and heard a ripple sound. He totally relaxed. His legs went out and his arms went out. I kept pumping and pumping but he wouldn’t make a sound. Finally, he gasped! I held his nose, blew in his mouth and watched his chest rise. Then I went back to pumping.”
Every time she resuscitated Roy — she lost him. Pat said she was thinking she needed more help, when suddenly their 80-pound dog, Shadow, a mixed Catahoula Leopard hound, joined her at that exact moment. Shadow started howling or whining in Roy’s ear while she continued compressions, as if to encourage Roy to come back.
“She came up, put her muzzle under Roy’s neck and flipped his head so that his chin hit his chest!” Pat told the riveted audience. “Then Roy gasped. She never pulled her muzzle out. She kept it there so that his head never hit the floor.”
“I said, ‘Thank you, God!’ Because he would gasp and take a breath. I kept pumping and pumping. I held his nose, blew into his mouth again and watched his chest rise. The dog repeated what she was doing over and over.
“Finally, I could hear the 911 operator in my ear saying, ‘You have to put the dog away and open the front door so that EMS can come and help you.’ I didn’t even have to say, ‘Shadow come!’ She ran down the hall and sat in the computer room. I shut the door, ran down and opened the door.”
Luke Fisher, one of the paramedics on the scene, admitted the situation seemed grave when EMS arrived, “But we give each and every one our fullest effort,” he said. “We do the best we can and it’s only by the grace of God if it works out. We’re only tools. We never gave up.”
Dr. Jeff Miller, the Emergency Center Physician at SkyRidge on duty that day, also admits, “When we got the call that there was an elderly male CPR coming in — I’m not going to lie to you — those traditionally have very poor outcomes. So when we got there and heard there had already been resuscitative efforts out in the field and other efforts — those are bad indicators.”
Roy was still unconscious, not breathing on his own and paramedics were working frantically to save him. Although his vital signs had flatlined, his best chances were linked to the latest livesaving technology inside the ambulance as two skilled paramedics and EMTs worked on him while they raced to SkyRidge Medical Center.
Fisher added, “By the time we were rolling through the doors at the hospital he had the return of a heartbeat that we could see and hear. It was an amazing thing.”
But they lost him again. The heart monitor flatlined and Roy was clinically dead as every second counted to save his fading life.
Miller explained, “We had to shock him once or twice. Then we got a rhythm that we could see and do something with. It was one of the nurses who was in the room who said, ‘Am I seeing what I think I see?’”
According to Miller, the heart monitor was showing that the flatlines were starting to elevate and a rhythm appeared.
“So we did another EKG and sure enough he was having an inferior wall heart attack,” Miller explained. “At that point everything that happened prior — none of that matters. He needed to be at Memorial Hospital where they take care of that kind of thing. So I got on the phone to Dr. Hayes and said here is the story so far and I think he needs to come there. Dr. Hayes agreed. They know the same thing we know — that elderly folks with bad heart attacks requiring that kind of effort typically don’t do very well.”
Matt Wittmaier, the other paramedic on the scene, said, “One of the things that sticks out in my mind is how Mr. Bond never gave up. From the moment we walked in the doorway and went to secure an airway, he was still gasping for air. Throughout the whole process of everything going on — he began to breathe more. You were breathing 12 to 14 times a minutes, which is normal. It blew my mind. You never gave up!”
Fisher said, “The hospital staff (at SkyRidge) did a great thing. We loaded him back on our stretcher and some of the hospital staff went back with us to Memorial (Hospital) to give us an extra hand.”
Still, Roy, who enjoy telling people he is “83 1/2” was in a critical condition after having a substantial amount of oxygen loss to the brain through the heart-stopping ordeal. Pat described his appearance as “swollen, full of fluid and arms that were deep purple like blood was under his skin.”
She said, “After SkyRidge helped him, he was transferred to cardiac services at Memorial Hospital and the doctor asked me, ‘Would you consider signing a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) form. He said, ‘There is nothing left in this body. There is no mind. He will be on life support the rest of his life. I knew that Roy would not want that so I said, ‘Yes. I will sign the DNR.’”
Devastated, Pat said she left the hospital praying relentlessly throughout the night until the next day when the doctor called and suddenly asked her to reconsider the DNR.
“They took him off the respirator and he started talking!” She said. “He’s been 100 percent ever since! I want to thank everyone — from the first ones who showed up at the house to the last ones who helped him out to the car at Memorial. But mainly, I want to thank God for hearing my cry in my hour of need! I go outside everyday and the sky is bluer, the grass is greener and the flowers are sweeter. You truly appreciate — when you come that close to losing a loved one — how special they are.”
With a slight smile on his face, Roy stood and joked, “There’s a few days missing in my story! (The audience laughed). Right off the bat, I’d like to say I wouldn’t be here without the help of God, my wife, Patty, and my dog, Shadow.
“That dog, according to Pat, would lift my head up and I’d take a breath. She wouldn’t do it again until I stopped breathing. Nobody told her. It’s so strange that a dog could help in a situation like that. We want to thank the staff at SkyRidge, the EMS at Station 1 on Paul Huff , the Cleveland Fire Department and Memorial Hospital. This area has wonderful, wonderful people working in it.”
Although Miller said it is no secret in the medical field that “elderly folks with bad heart attacks that require that kind of effort typically don’t do very well,” he added, “It’s always a great pleasure when we’re really, really wrong.”
Fisher admitted, “A lot of times those calls don’t work out. But this time it all fell into place like it should have.”
The funding that comes from the office of Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis was also applauded as he took a moment to say, “It’s good to be reminded that all of the departments are ‘tools of God,’ but they are also well trained and well equipped organizations. It’s great to see these kind of results and they all do a great job. We appreciate them.”
Sink, the coordinator of the event added, “Most of us in this room understand the relationship between 911, EMS, SkyRidge Emergency Center and the hospitals in the regions. But now we have such a great example of how that all meshed together and we want to share that with the public.
“Mr. Roy Bond passed away. But as Mark Twain said, ‘The reports of my death has been greatly exaggerated.’ He passed away Aug. 2, and now he’s here with us today, because we have a great team with 911, a great team with EMS, a great team with SkyRidge and with that tertiary care center called Memorial Hospital. As a result, Mr. Bond is here with us today.”
Paramedic Stan Clark, the Bradley County EMS public information officer, added, “It’s amazing to be involved in something like this — to see someone lying there in death and a week later they come and hug your neck! It’s why we do what we do. It started when she sent out those prayers, then she called 911, who walked her through some things, then Bradley County EMS responded to the scene. We were also assisted by the Cleveland Fire Department who help us out routinely.
“It was a great team effort all-around. We have some technology available now that is absolutely amazing. To be able to transmit what we find in the field to the hospitals and that step-by-step process that takes place in getting Mr. Bond to where he needed to be in a timely manner — everything worked out great! We’re here today to celebrate his life. This plaque will forever hang at station 1 at Bradley County EMS for us to look back on and remember Mr. Bond.
“There is a very low percentage of success rate in CPR situations. Those who do survive remain impaired or on a ventilator for the rest of their lives. But Mr. Bond, with his prognosis being very poor — to be able to see him here today fully recovered, smiling, in his right mind — is first, a miracle and second, is absolutely amazing.”
Danny Lawson, director of EMS, said, “For us, it is exciting to be a part of a team that does what we do, then being educated and equipped and able to impact people’s lives. It’s what we have given our lives to do. We alway try our best and it’s exciting to be a part of a good story. Life is precious. It helps not to take that for granted.”
According to Lawson, having the technology to detect a heart attack on the ambulance and began treatment immediately is a milestone in lifesaving procedures for the people in Bradley County.
“All of our guys are involved in critical care training,” he said. “We now have technology that has not been available to us prior — we have diagnostic quality, EKGs that are 95 percent diagnostic, plus we have people who are trained to interpret it even if the monitor doesn’t, and begin treatment that’s advanced for whatever symptoms are coming up. We’re able to minimize the damage to the heart as we travel to the facility.
“The advances that these new guys have amazes me, and I’ve been in this field for 32 years. I am amazed at the care and the care outcomes as well as their commitment to the community.”
Pat concluded by saying, “I wouldn’t have my loving husband here beside me if God had not heard my cries. I thank Him every minute of every day.”
Both Roy and Pat retired from teaching adult education in Battle Creek, Mich., before moving to Cleveland.
Pat was presented with an award of excellence for following the proper “chain for survival” procedures by calling 911 and starting CPR, while Shadow was given a gift bag of doggie treats and toys. The moment she saw her toy she began playing with it.