David Chastain



Visit to TCH ER - "The Day I Died"

David Chastain - Veteran Fighter Pilot - 71 years old

One Saturday morning, David Chastain and his wife Gail drove to Crestview to pick up plants. She drove back because he gets sleepy when riding in the car that long. They drove back to Niceville to the high school to pick up one of their granddaughters. While they were sitting in the pickup line, he told his wife, "honey my hands are tingling", and then he fell against the dash board. She said, "honey, don't be funny, people are looking". Gail took hold of his shoulder and said "oh my goodness, nobody's home". She knew immediately that he was not breathing. He was not alive. She immediately drove out of the parking lot of the school and did a U-turn in the road, knowing that Twin Cities Hospital was about three blocks away. She pulled in under the emergency awning and started beeping the horn. As soon as she stopped, two guys came running out with a gurney. They unstrapped him and put him on the gurney and then one of them immediately started CPR.

They hooked him up to the monitors and it was completely flat. He was dead. They immediately started resuscitation with an automatic defibrillator and nothing happened; second time around, they got a blip and his heart started back at that time. They put him on a respirator and got him ready to go to FWBMC where they have the cardiac unit and specialists to help him.

FWBMC ran a battery of tests for five days to determine why his heart stopped. The tests showed no blockage, no damage to the heart, nothing. Due to what had happened, Dr. Joseph Pedone, made the decision, with the consent of the family, to have a defibrillator put in. Mr. Chastain said his entire time in CVICU at FWBMC was phenomenal. "They all did a super job. The young lady who ran CVICU at the time was just fantastic. She knew her stuff and did everything by the book. She ran a tight ship up there."

Since that time, Mr. Chastain has had no issues with his heart. He says, "I owe my life to those working in the ER that day. If it weren't for them, I would have never seen or known my three grandsons. I go back as much as I can to see and thank the team who care for me. I owe them my life. If you have to go through the experience I did, that's how you want it to be - phenomenal"

Mr. Chastain says he takes life a little more seriously now and takes the time to exercise, eat healthier and play more golf.