Just about to check out at the grocery aisle at a local supermarket, Lionel Malebranche, M.D., realized he had forgotten to purchase milk. Upon retrieving the milk and returning to the check-out counter, he heard a loud cry for help.
The cry was coming from the ice cream aisle. Dr. Malebranche, a third-year cardiology fellow at the Center for Heart and Vascular Health, arrived there to find a woman lying lifeless on the floor. Her adult daughter was desperately trying to wake her up. The woman, Robin Stoner, had gone into sudden cardiac arrest. She had no breath, no pulse and had turned gray.
Dr. Malebranche sprang into action. He immediately initiated rapid CPR and instructed the daughter, Amanda Wooters, to perform mouth-to-mouth. He also directed a bystander to call 911 to instruct emergency response team arrive on the scene so they could bring her to Christiana Hospital.
Within two minutes, Sutter’s color improved and she started to move her arms. Dr. Malebranche and Wooters continued to perform CPR. He also performed a quick neurologic assessment using the light source on his mobile phone.
“Even though she was alive, I wanted to make sure that she did not lose any brain function so it was critical to continue the CPR,” Dr. Malebranche said. “I know that if we could ensure that she survived brain damage, her quality of life would improve once she recovered.”
By the time the emergency medical response team had arrived, Sutter had regained consciousness and was speaking. Her color had returned. She was admitted to Christiana Hospital and, when Dr. Malebranche came to check on her, so did an NBC10 television camera crew to capture the beautiful story.
Stoner considers Dr. Malebranche and her daughter Wooters her “angels.”
“If it wasn’t for them together, one piece without the other, I probably wouldn’t be here today,” said Stoner, who lives in Middletown and is feeling better. “The greatest reward was to see both the doctor and my daughter again here at Christiana Hospital.”
Dr. Malebranche is grateful that he remembered to retrieve the milk and that he had been at the right place at the right time.
“It’s a day I will never forget,” Malebranche said. “I feel very fortunate that I was able to meet and help them.”