An Ephraim man is extremely grateful for healthcare works who have been in the right place at the right time.
Josh Sharp has gone into cardiac arrest twice without any warning—and on both occasions healthcare workers were nearby to save his life.
Six years ago, when his heart stopped just outside his karate studio, the local EMS team was a block away and revived him at the scene within minutes. A few weeks ago, a very similar, scary situation occurred at a community event at Delta High School, an hour and a half away from Ephraim, where Josh and his wife, JoDee, live with their family.
“We were at the region drill team competition when I received word that Josh had collapsed just outside the gym,” says JoDee. “At first people thought he was having a seizure, but I immediately knew it was his heart.”
By the time JoDee ran down the steps to her husband, he was already surrounded by medical professionals, including doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians who were at the high school that day.
Michael Frischknecht, MD, family practice physician, and Geri Brailsford, medical assistant, from Manti Family Clinic, were also in the gym that day. They knew Josh was facing a life-threatening situation related to his heart history, as he’s a patient at their clinic.
Dr. Frischknecht’s team and other medical professionals worked to save Josh’s life. CPR was initiated and Brailsford helped take a turn with chest compressions. When a portable automated external defibrillator (AED) was located, Dr. Frischknecht worked with the AED to shock Josh’s heart multiple times. Help was aided by athletic director of Manti High School, Steve Roberts.
JoDee recalls kneeling by Josh’s head, telling him to fight for his life. “I could tell he was fighting and responding to my voice, though it was very scary,” says JoDee, who has six kids with her husband, ages 8-17. “You could tell each time when he was ready to be shocked because the life kind of left his body. He’d be OK for a few seconds and then they’d lose his heartbeat again.”
When the ambulance arrived, Josh was taken to Delta Community Hospital’s emergency department. During the ambulance ride, JoDee says Josh’s vital signs began to improve with measurable heart rate and blood pressure. In the ED he was put on a ventilator, as he couldn’t breathe on his own after the trauma to his chest. Afterward he was Life Flighted to Utah Valley Hospital, where he had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) inserted that will automatically shock him if he ever has a problem again.
“This was a team effort by everyone who was present that day,” says Brailsford. “It was a right place, right time, right moment, where we were all there to help.”
Jodee says her husband’s heart condition is so rare that most people who have it don’t survive. During his first cardiac arrest six years ago, he’d had surgery to repair a right coronary artery that wasn’t in the correct place.
Dr. Frischknecht says, “We’re thankful for everyone who helped save Josh, from the initial emergency response and on through his hospitalization and surgery. Josh and JoDee are our heroes and we are so grateful that we were with them when they were in need. It’s an honor to help care for such an amazing couple and their family.”
JoDee adds, “So many caregivers helped us that night and in the days after. The emergency department staff at Delta Community Hospital was incredible, and of course, everyone at the high school who worked to save Josh’s life. We are a close-knit community and it’s incredible to realize all the people who were invested in helping Josh anyway they could. We are grateful.”
Incredibly, just a few weeks after the ordeal, JoDee says Josh is doing well and pretty much back to normal.