Quick-thinking emergency physician becomes a fan’s health care safety net during a cardiac emergency at a hockey game
You never know when the person sitting a few rows from you might save your life.
Bill Streb, a 71-year-old retired Xerox Corporation executive, certainly didn’t expect to encounter a life-or-death situation when he decided to accompany his son to watch the Los Angeles Kings play the Anaheim Ducks in a preseason hockey game at the Staples Center. Mr. Streb, who describes himself as “the most healthy person in my family,” experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest during the third period of the game.
Fortunately for Mr. Streb, emergency physician Sujal Mandavia, MD, FACEP, group vice president at TeamHealth Emergency Medicine’s West Group in Glendale, California, and a faculty member at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, was also attending the game. Dr. Mandavia noticed Mr. Streb’s cardiac distress and leapt into action, providing immediate medical attention and ensuring that Mr. Streb made it to the emergency department to receive lifesaving care.
Dr. Mandavia and Mr. Streb recently sat down with ACEP Now Medical Editor-in-Chief Kevin Klauer, DO, EJD, FACEP, to talk about the events of the game and how the experience has affected their lives.
KK: Where were you sitting, Bill?
BS: I was sitting in the lower section, about 15 rows up from the ice. My son and his wife have season tickets. His wife was a bit under the weather, and they gave me a call and asked if I’d like to go instead.
KK: Sujal, where were you sitting in relation to Bill?
SM: I was behind Bill and over a few seats.
SM: Probably six or seven feet.
KK: Getting right to the point, Bill, you suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest. You said you would be regarded as the healthiest sibling in your family. How did you feel prior to this event? Did you have any suspicion?
BS: We had gone to Ventura, which is about 50 miles north of us, had a seafood lunch in which I ate things I usually don’t eat—New England–style clam chowder and fish and chips—and then had a normal dinner before going to the game. During the day, I did not feel anything. Somewhere in the beginning of the first period, I started getting what I thought was indigestion, though the indigestion was rather different than before because it was a lot stronger. In the break between the second and third period, I believe, I even went to the first-aid station and got some Tums for my stomach.