Quick Responses Create ‘Chain of Survival’

Wife, paramedics, hospital staff help UP man survive cardiac arrest

Less than 8% of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside a hospital survive.

Kevin Gregory is among those, thanks to his wife, swift acting University Park first responders, and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas staff.

I mean, as my wife says, we feel like God put the right people in our path every step of the way, and the first responders obviously were absolutely amazing.

Kevin Gregory

Kevin’s wife, Rebecca, found him unresponsive at their University Park home in April and immediately began performing what she calls makeshift CPR. She’s since gotten certified to perform CPR.

“I was in the kitchen, you know, cutting up food, getting things ready just for lunch, and I hear this loud groan, and I came in the den, and he was just totally not responsive,” Rebecca said. “I tried to wake him and then called 911.”

She said paramedics arrived quickly.

“It was just really a blessing to see the wonderful people in this world, how loving and caring they were to us,” Rebecca said.

Victoria, Kevin, Rebecca, and Conner Gregory. (Courtesy photo)

“I mean, as my wife says, we feel like God put the right people in our path every step of the way, and the first responders obviously were absolutely amazing,” Kevin added.

He was hospitalized for nine days and was sore from the CPR for about a month, but has recovered.

“Now I’m doing great,” Kevin said. “And other than the implanted defibrillator I have, you wouldn’t really know that anything had happened to me.”

He’s back to exercising on an indoor bicycle trainer for two or three hours most mornings.

Despite regular exercise, Kevin Gregory had a cardiac arrest. (Photo: Lee McDaniel)

“That’s one of my main focuses, but it certainly has given me perspective,” Kevin said. “I’m spending more time with the family, and our two kids are back in town from college.”

Phil Minshew, a paramedic and EMS outreach program manager with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, gave a lot of credit to Rebecca.

“What really led to the great outcome was the … out-of-hospital CPR performed by his wife,” Minshew said. “Bystander CPR is so important. It’s the first link in the chain of survival with the American Heart Association.”

He also credited the speedy 911 call and the care from the crew from the University Park Fire Department. 

“The chain of survival; every link was there. That’s what was just absolutely amazing about this,” Minshew said.

He said if others find themselves in a similar situation to the Gregorys, it’s essential not to panic, and it’s helpful to learn and be familiar with CPR.     

Stephanie Koepke, adult health clinical nurse specialist and chest pain program coordinator at the hospital, said everything that could go right did to produce an outcome like Kevin’s.

“We really cherish patients like Mr. Gregory,” she said. “To see him with his family, with his children, I think it just puts a warm fuzzy in your heart that allows you to get through the next days, weeks, months where you’re not seeing those outcomes.”

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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