IU West nurse performs life-saving CPR on husband

By: Nichole Meloche

When Brittany Fields woke up the morning of October 1, she had no idea how that day would impact the rest of her life. One minute, she is discussing work and childcare plans with her husband. By the next, her husband is laying on the floor while she performs life-saving CPR on him.

Brittany Fields has worked in the maternity ward at IU West for the past decade. She currently serves as the Clinical Educator for the maternity ward. Her husband, Jake Fields, has worked at Mears Machinery in Avon for the last twelve years. Together, they are raising their two-year-old son Evan.

Brittany and her husband were having a relaxing Saturday afternoon taking care of their sick son. While their son slept, they discussed how to take care of him. A moment later, Brittany heard the sound of snoring come from the living room, which struck her as odd.

“I thought that was odd that he had fallen asleep that quickly,” said Brittany. “I yelled his name and he didn’t say anything. I was poking his chest but there was still no response. I called 911 immediately. Then I ran to my neighbor’s house and I screamed for them to help me move him.”

In the 20 seconds that it took for Brittany to run for help, her husband started to turn blue. Their neighbors, Shana and Nate, assisted Brittany in getting Jake flat on the ground so she could perform CPR.

Brittany Fields has worked in the maternity ward at IU West for the last decade. (Photo provided by Emma Packard)

“I had been doing CPR for about five minutes and I was starting to get tired,” said Brittany. “Nate started doing chest compressions while I was doing rescue breathing.”

When Pittsboro EMS arrived, they performed CPR on Jake for another 20 minutes. They said that Jake had gone into ventricular fibrillation, which means that his heart had become electrically unstable and had a non-life sustaining rhythm to it.

“I thought they were going to tell me that it had been too long,” said Brittany. “I was really afraid I was going to have to make a decision. They never said that. Mentally, I said goodbye to Jake because I really thought he was going to die.”

On the way to the hospital, Jake received four to six shocks from an Automated External Defibrillator, or AED. In total, he was in cardiac arrest for 45 minutes.

Jake spent the next week at IU West. For two of those days, he was breathing through a ventilator.

“The last thing I remember is our son was sick from RSV and he was laying on my chest,” said Jake. “We were watching Hotel Transylvania and then it was lights out.”

Jake and Brittany Fields and their son Evan. (Photo provided by Brittany Fields)

Jake’s doctors are still unsure of what the exact cause of this incident was. Scans show that Jake’s heart is completely healthy. Jake is now back to working and living an active lifestyle after having an internal cardiac defibrillator put in.

Brittany attributes her CPR skills to her mandatory quarterly training at IU West. Prior to this incident, she had never performed CPR outside of her training.

“I just went into action,” said Brittany. “I’m super thankful that my wife-brain turned off and my nurse-brain turned on. He received amazing care. It was truly incredible. My husband and I are strong in our faith, but to physically witness a miracle, I have no words for it. We’re so blessed and lucky.”

“I’m going to use my second chance to be the best father, husband, son and brother that I can be,” said Jake. “I want to appreciate all the little things that we often take for granted. It gives me a better appreciation for what I have in my life and the people in it ”

“You can’t always predict what is going to happen to you so go to the doctor and do all the preventative things that you can do to stay on top of your health,” said Jake. “CPR saves lives!”

The American Heart Association offers a list of local CPR classes. Many local YMCAs and fire departments offer CPR certification classes. Visit ahainstructornetwork.americanheart.org.