After heart attack, woman thanks firefighters who saved her life

Heart Health

by Baylor Scott & White Health

Feb 15, 2019

Cheryl Sepmoree remembers she didn’t want to go into downtown Dallas to work one Saturday in September 2018. But she had made a commitment, so Cheryl drove into the office. Little did she know that just blocks away, two Dallas firefighter paramedics had an equally strong commitment to their work that day: saving lives.

On that particular day, it was Cheryl’s life they helped save.

After she arrived at work, she began to feel increasingly ill but passed it off as a bad case of indigestion and an upset stomach. Her concerned coworkers called 911 on her behalf — twice. The first time, Cheryl started to feel better and told them cancel the call. But after she experienced a second episode, they called 911 again and two firefighter paramedics named Lorenzo Herrera and Jason Gregory appeared in minutes.

“I didn’t realize I was sick. I thought I had a stomach ache,” Cheryl said.

“If I had been home, I would not be talking with you today,” she said. “As smart as my dog is, I can’t teach him to dial 911.”

Although Cheryl didn’t think her illness warranted a trip to the hospital, Lorenzo and Jason persisted until she agreed to get into the ambulance and travel to Baylor University Medical Center’s trauma center.

In hindsight, that decision saved her life.

“If I had been home, I would not be talking with you today,” she said. “As smart as my dog is, I can’t teach him to dial 911.”

Just inside the trauma center’s ambulance bay, Cheryl said, “I feel like I’m going to pass out,” seconds before she went into cardiac arrest. Lorenzo and Jason began CPR, handing over care to the trauma team once she was inside the hospital.

After her heart attack, Cheryl remained at Baylor University Medical Center for 19 days receiving care and then was discharged to a rehab facility. Now, she is working with the cardiac rehab team at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Grapevine and expects to be back at work soon. She said she is grateful for the care she received from the Dallas Fire Department and the Baylor Scott & White team that fateful day.

Months later, she was able to thank her heroes in person when Baylor Scott & White Heart and Vascular Hospital – Dallas recognized the service provided by these two Dallas firefighter paramedics.

“This is extremely exciting because it’s not every day you get to meet the people who actually saved your life and to tell them thank you,” said Cheryl after reuniting with Lorenzo and Jason at a special celebration.

Baylor Scott & White Heart and Vascular Hospital – Dallas hosts case review and recognition luncheons on a quarterly basis for area paramedics serving Dallas and other communities.

“Paramedics almost never get the recognition they deserve so this is our way of saying thank you,” said Erika Anderson, wellness program manager of outpatient cardiovascular services at Baylor Scott & White Heart and Vascular Hospital – Dallas.

To Lorenzo and Jason — and all other paramedics, firefighters and first responders — thank you for being there when we need you most.

Cheryl didn’t know her heart was at risk until it was almost too late. What about your heart? Take our heart disease quiz today.

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