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Romney Man Living a ‘Bonus Life’ Thanks to Community Response

Romney Man Living a ‘Bonus Life’ Thanks to Community Response

Harry Beatty doesn’t remember any of it, not collapsing at the community center in Romney, or the patrons and police officers who performed immediate CPR.

He doesn’t remember the transport or the care that followed at Hampshire Memorial Hospital and Winchester Medical Center.

And he definitely doesn’t remember dying five times and being brought back to life each time. But he does remember leaving WMC a few days later with a nearly clean bill of health.

Beatty credits both divine orchestration from God and the aid of an entire community for giving him what he now calls his “bonus life.”

“Through the efforts of the young man who sat down beside me [and then gave me CPR], to the police officers, to the EMTs, to Valley Health, to all the doctors and nurses, it was just magnificent,” says the 71-year-old Romney resident. “I’ve never been more humbled in my life. I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart.”

Saving Mr. Beatty

On Oct. 16, 2021, Harry Beatty went into cardiac arrest while at the community center in Romney. Patrons immediately started CPR and called 911. Law enforcement from Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office and West Virginia State Police arrived soon after and aided in the resuscitation measures.

Valley Medical Transport (VMT) paramedic Chris Green arrived next on the scene in the Hampshire County chase car and initiated lifesaving interventions. A chase car is equipped with advanced life support and is often used in rural areas where ambulances are not available.

Romney Volunteer Rescue Squad arrived soon after and transported Beatty to the Hampshire Memorial Hospital (HMH) Emergency Department, where he was seen by Joseph Jordan, MD.

With coordination from Valley Health Transfer Center nurses and VMT dispatchers, VMT responded with an ambulance to HMH and transported him to WMC. Through the nearly hour-long drive with limited cell service, VMT’s paramedics and advanced equipment kept Beatty alive.

Beatty was met by the WMC Cath Lab team and interventional cardiologist Jason Call, MD.

Dr. Call had been alerted that an individual was en route from West Virginia in prolonged cardiac arrest, with 40-plus minutes of CPR ongoing. Doctors were concerned—the brain does not tolerate reduced blood flow for very long.

“When we heard the story, it was unclear if he was going to have a meaningful recovery,” Call says. “His vitals had finally stabilized, but he had been ‘down’ for a long time. We activated the Cath team and were ready for him. The ICU was ready to cool him to try to improve his chance of neurologic recovery.”

The team rushed Beatty straight into the Cath Lab, where they treated severe blockages in all three of his major heart arteries. Two of the arteries were 100% blocked.

The next day Beatty was able to come off the ventilator. He had sore ribs and some heart failure.

His wife, Georgann, stayed by his bedside, and with further medications, Beatty’s condition continued to improve. On Oct. 19, Beatty was released from WMC and says he feels “back to normal.”

“I recall he told me he was often the Santa Claus at the mall,” Dr. Call says. “Thus his story is one of those Christmas miracles we all hope to hear.”

Chris Guynn, operations manager for VMT in Keyser, West Virginia, credits Beatty’s survival with the immediate action taken by residents and law enforcement that day.

“It all goes back to the initial quick care,” he says. “Every minute that goes by, you have a 10-fold chance of not surviving. The American Heart Association’s chain of survival for people who go into cardiac arrest is early treatment, early CPR, early advanced life support care. The importance of early CPR can’t be over-stressed.”

A Community Effort

Brandon Truman, VHS director of Mobile Integrated Healthcare, called Beatty’s care and survival a total community effort.

“It started with the community, and the chain of events is breathtaking,” Truman says. “The quality and caliber of people we have on our side, including those in the community and Valley Health, is amazing.”

Nearly 40 individuals — from the first responders who assisted when he collapsed, to the EMS crew that kept him alive en route to WMC, to the Heart & Vascular Center team that restored blood flow to his heart and cared for him — were instrumental to Beatty’s successful recovery.

Guynn called Beatty’s survival a miracle.

“So many stars aligned for this man to survive,” he says. “It’s pretty unheard of. It took such a large team of people at just the right place and right time. It’s clear Mr. Beatty wasn’t supposed to die that day.”