ORLAND PARK, Ill. (CBS) — A pediatric cardiac nurse practitioner and her podiatrist fiancée were in the right place at the right time while out for dinner on Sunday, and a 16-year old boy is still alive due to her quick thinking.
Nick Theilgaard, of Midlothian, has a rare heart condition and Sunday, after finishing his meal on the outdoor patio of the Houlihan’s restaurant in Orland Park, he went into full cardiac and respiratory arrest.
His heart and lungs had stopped.
“I took a drink of some water, I put it down, and I started feeling weird, and that’s the last I remembered,” Nick said.
His mom, Diane Theilgaard, said her son, “put his hand on his head and said, ‘Wow, that was weird’, and then all of a sudden, he put his head back, his eyes were rolling in the back of his head, and he started making these gurgling noises.”
Someone ran into the restaurant, shouting for someone to call 911, and Sarah Kane – a pediatric cardiac nurse practitioner at Advocate Children’s Hospital – ran outside to help. Her podiatrist fiancée, Brian Wittmayer, soon followed, and the pair began CPR.
“When I came up to him, he really wasn’t breathing, and didn’t really have a pulse, so we started CPR,” Kane said.
For 10 minutes, Kane and Wittmayer tried to bring Nick Theilgaard back, and Kane says they were successful once for a brief time.
When paramedics arrived, they used a defibrillator to get his heart and lungs working again.
Kane said she had asked the manager of the Houlihan’s if he had an AED, an automated external defibrillator, but the manager said no. She said she was surprised by that, and thinks all restaurants should have one for just such an emergency.
Diane Theilgaard said, for a time, she thought her son was dead. She said she thought, “I lost my son”.
“We couldn’t be luckier that they were there. We owe everything to them,” she said.
Nick called Kane his “little super-hero.”
The Bremen Township High School senior has a rare heart condition called arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD) which causes his heart muscle to slowly change into fatty tissue, and to scar. To remedy that, he’s going to have a subcutaneous implantable defibrillator put in his body next month.
Kane joked with Nick that he owes her and her fiancée a meal, because they didn’t get a chance to eat theirs.
Nick joked right back that Kane owes him a meal because Wittmayer “made out with me,” referring to the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation Wittmayer performed.