Hometown Heroes: Nurses’ quick actions save man’s life

Published 12:18 am Saturday, May 12, 2018

LAPLACE — When Mickey Roussel of Lutcher woke up with chest and arm pain last month, he didn’t realize he was on the verge of a massive widowmaker heart attack.

Characterized by 100 percent blockage in one of the main arteries, widowmaker heart attacks are deadly cardiac events.

Thankfully, Roussel is alive today because of the quick actions taken by St. James Parish Hospital nurses and staff.

Amanda Domino of Gramercy has worked in health care for 29 years, advancing from CNA to RN. Still fairly new to the emergency room, Domino responded to a heart attack for the first time when Roussel collapsed minutes after walking through the door.

Kim Burkett, RN, jumped in without hesitation as Roussel was rushed to the trauma room. Over the next 20 minutes, Roussel was shocked five times as his heart fell in and out of the fatal rhythm.

With assistance from Dr. Rusty Cook, nursing assistant Leanna Humphries and respiratory therapist Lakeya Phillip, Domino and Burkett administered CPR and inserted an IV to stabilize Roussel.

An hour and a half later, the team made arrangements to transfer Roussel to Ochsner Medical Center – Kenner.

Burkett said she’s seen similar episodes in her 31 years, but they are few and far between. Due to the sudden nature of widowmaker heart attacks, patients often don’t make it to the hospital.

“I’m very happy he came in when he did,” Burkett said. “If he had stayed home that morning, I’m afraid the outcome would’ve been very different. I think God was watching over him to help him get here as soon as he did.”

Roussel’s wife, Sonya, said her husband was recently cleared to return to work.

Sonya Roussel, the wife of Mickey Roussel, wrote the staff at St. James Parish Hospital a “Thank You” for their life-saving efforts.

“The staff was very, very efficient,” Sonya Roussel said. “They saved his life. We’re fortunate to live only four blocks away from a hospital with such good nurses.”

Domino said there’s no predicting who will walk through the emergency room doors. In the past months, she’s seen stabbings, gunshot wounds and complications from suspected child abuse.

Health care jobs are the only career she has worked, and she wouldn’t change it for the world.

Domino gained an interest for nursing when she got her first stethoscope at 8.

As a child, she looked after her younger brother and served as a caretaker for her sick grandfather.

“I was 12, so I don’t know how I got the responsibility of shaving, bathing and feeding him,” Domino said. “I just naturally fell into that caretaker role.”

Burkett discovered a love for nursing in college, when her wise father pleaded with her to go through at least one year of nursing school.

The nursing profession is wonderful and different day-to-day, Burkett said, adding she loves her work family and using her knowledge to care for others.