It started as a regular day. Angela Maiden’s alarm went off at 6 a.m. She got her daughters ready for school, kissed her husband and headed to the office. On Wednesdays, the HCA Healthcare affiliated practice, Levinson Heart Failure Clinic in Richmond, Virginia, is usually quiet. Her physician and nurses typically perform surgery at the hospital nearby and so, when the steady thrum of fluorescents and background music was interrupted by a thump, she knew something was wrong.
When she turned to see her colleague on the ground gasping for air, Angela, a medical office coordinator and eight-year veteran of the U.S. Army, sprang into action. She shouted for Jennifer, the practice’s social worker, to call 911 and she immediately began what would be round after round of CPR. As Jennifer relayed the situation unfolding in front of her to the emergency operator, Angela heard mention of using the practice’s automated external defibrillator (AED). Without missing a beat, she stopped compressions and sprinted to the AED cabinet releasing it from its place and returning to her colleague. She cut open her shirt and placed the pads on her chest and waited for that telling signal indicating it was time to administer the shock. Afterwards, despite aching arms and exhaustion setting in, she returned to doing compressions – refusing to stop until long after the ambulance arrived.
“The whole time, I just thought about her children and her husband,” Angela says. “I didn’t want her kids to not have their mother. I just kept them in my mind and did what anyone would do.”
Today, her colleague, sporting a new implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) implant, is beginning to find her way back to normalcy – even heading back to work to continue to do what she does best – care for patients. And it doesn’t hurt that her cardiologists are also members of the practice, located on the campus of HCA Virginia’s Chippenham Hospital.
Reflecting on the events of the past few weeks, Kerry Dryden, practice manager, calls Angela a hero. “Angela is very humble. It takes a certain personality to stay calm, cool, and collected under pressure. To not just know what to do – but to do it! She never hesitated. She just jumped into action.”
What’s even more impressive is that this isn’t the first time that Angela’s intervention has saved a life. “We had a situation with a patient over at our other practice not too long ago and she did the same thing,” Kerry continued. “She thought really quickly and ran across the hall to one of the hospital’s departments to call a code blue. That’s just who she is. She’ll do anything for these patients and her colleagues.”
Angela’s take is slightly different. She’s humble and kind, framing her life-saving efforts as “something anyone would do.” And while, she may be right, what is known for certain is that she saved her colleague’s life and for that, she will always be our hero.
HCA 50th Anniversary
In 1968, HCA Healthcare was conceived by two physicians and an accomplished business leader — Dr. Thomas Frist Sr., Dr. Thomas Frist Jr., and Jack Massey. This year, HCA celebrates its golden anniversary and the culture of caring established by our three founders 50 years ago. To help us celebrate our 50th year, we’ll share stories here that reflect HCA’s mission – above all else, the care and improvement of human life – and our pledge to improve life and make history for the next 50 years and beyond.