Woman Survives Heart Attack Thanks to Family

By Brian Scott
|  Thursday, May 1, 2014  |  Updated 9:39 AM CDT
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Hospital representatives praise quick action by the Plessingers that kept mother alive long enough to get to surgery.

Brian Scott, NBC 5

Hospital representatives praise quick action by the Plessingers that kept mother alive long enough to get to surgery.

March 16th will be a day the Plessinger family never forgets.

The family had traveled from Forney to Denton where they were moving daughter, Ashtin, back into the dorms at Texas Woman’s University after Spring Break.

But the Sunday move took a turn when mother Karen started to show signs of trouble.

"I just felt tired and winded and just wanted to lay down,” said Karen.

Rather than lay down though, Karen collapsed onto Ashtin’s dorm bed. The family would soon find out she was suffering a heart attack.

"It just looked like someone was hitting her with many volts of electricity,” said her husband Dion.

Karen hadn’t had any health problems before to lead up to the problem, but when they realized she wasn’t breathing anymore, the family immediately took action.

Ashtin, who, ironically, is at TWU studying to become a nurse, helped her father move Karen to the floor.

The freshman immediately called 911 and got an operator on speaker phone to help Dion who was doing what CPR techniques he still remembered from school.

"I didn't really remember, I just knew that I had to keep doing the chest compressions,” he said.

"As she was laying on the bed, I was kind of mentally running through my text book being like, ok, what do I remember from this, what could possibly help me?” said Ashtin.

Soon paramedics arrived to help and transported Karen to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton for emergency surgery.

Dion, Ashtin and youngest sister, Amanda, said that was the first chance they’d had to really take in the situation.

"At that point in time it seemed like a million things were going through my mind,” said Dion.

"I lost it, I went out in the hall and pulled her (Ashtin) aside and was like, we have to pray,” said Amanda.

Nurses prepared the family for the worst, but things would quickly turn around.

Folks at the hospital said the quick action by the Plessingers ultimately kept Karen alive long enough to get to surgery.

Her husband and daughter’s knowledge, although limited, made all the difference, and being in Denton close to the hospital and around people made for the speedy response needed in such an emergency situation.

"Saved my life. All of it just fell part into being very lucky," said Karen.

Just more than a month later, the Plessingers were back at the Denton hospital to thank the nurses who helped them and report that Karen’s cardiologist had just given her a completely clean bill of health.

The family is now encouraging others to learn CPR.

Leaders at Texas Health Denton are also encouraging people to use their online site, Your Heart Age.com, to help determine personal risk factors for a heart attack and take precautionary measures.

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