Nurses are hailed as heroes to many, but to Gene Foussadier, his guardian angel is his daughter. When Gene suddenly went into cardiac arrest at home, Ashley Foussadier – who doubles as his daughter and a surgical trauma nurse – quickly sprang into action to save his life. Read more about Ashley’s off-duty exemplary actions and the power of immediate CPR below…
Ashley Foussadier with her father, Gene Foussadier
HCA Healthcare nurse, Ashley Foussadier, with her father, Gene Foussadier

After surviving a quadruple bypass in 2010, Gene Foussadier found solace in fitness, competing in marathons and triathlons. Eight years later, after returning from a regular run, Gene collapsed in the kitchen of his Spring, Texas family home.

Ashley Foussadier, a nurse at affiliate HCA Houston Healthcare Northwest
Ashley Foussadier, RN

Ashley Foussadier, a nurse at affiliate HCA Houston Healthcare Northwest, heard her mother screaming her name. She immediately rushed to her father’s side.

“I checked, and he didn’t have a pulse,” Ashley remembered. “I told my mom to call 9-1-1 and started doing CPR. For the six minutes it took EMS to get there, I kept doing it.”

The paramedics loaded Gene into the ambulance and rushed him to the hospital, where they were finally able to establish a steady rhythm. He remained in the hospital for a week, missing Ashley’s sister’s wedding. “He had to ‘walk’ her down the aisle over FaceTime, and it was awful, but we were just so thankful he was still with us and able to do that,” Ashley said.

CPR can double or triple chances of survival after cardiac arrest

Gene’s life was spared because of Ashley’s execution of immediate CPR. “This experience really underscored for me how important it is that everyone learn CPR, not just people in the medical field,” said Ashley. “You never know when you might need to use it to save someone’s life – a family member, a friend or even a complete stranger.”

According to the American Heart Association, 475,000 Americans die from a cardiac arrest each year. However, when a bystander is able to perform immediate Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), the person’s chance of survival can double or triple.

Ashley Foussadier with her parents after receiving the Daisy Award
Ashley is a Daisy Award recipient

“When it comes to advocating for CPR, my message comes from the heart,” Ashley explains. “Whenever I share my story, I use it as an opportunity to promote CPR and the importance of becoming certified.”

CPR training is not limited to paramedics or medical professionals – it’s for everyone. Learn how to save a life by registering for a training or a course near you here.

People Performing Cpr On Mannequin

The American Heart Association offers simple, lifesaving steps that any bystander can take when they encounter someone experiencing cardiac arrest:

  • Call 911 and immediately begin chest compressions when someone is unconscious and having difficulty breathing. If you need guidance, an emergency operator can walk you through what to do. Not involving breathing into a person’s mouth, this method of CPR is called “hands-only”.
  • To give CPR, press hard and fast in the center of the chest, down at least two inches, at a rate of 100 to 120 pushes a minute.
  • It can be helpful to time your compressions with the beat of one of the following songs that fit within that recommended pace: “Stayin’ Alive,” by the Bee Gees, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper or “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” by the Clash.
  • Continue giving CPR until medical professionals arrive or someone with formal training is able to step in.

From Conroe to Texas City, HCA Houston Healthcare serves over one million patients and employs 15,000 people, including 6,900 nurses and 1,800 affiliated physicians. HCA Houston Healthcare’s comprehensive network includes 13 hospitals, 10 outpatient surgery centers, 11 freestanding emergency centers and a dozen freestanding diagnostic imaging facilities in the greater Houston area. It also includes a regional transfer center that provides one-phone-call access and support for patient transfers into and out of HCA-affiliated facilities as well as access to ground and air transportation within a 150-mile radius.