Lorain County woman credits Mercy Health - Lorain Hospital for giving her a new chance at life

One minute 55-year-old Nelly Davila was sitting at a table and talking with her mother-in-law. The next minute she had dropped her fork, lost consciousness and had gone into Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). Luckily, her brother-in-law, Nelson Davila, was present and able to begin CPR, which was continued, along with multiple defibrillations, by emergency workers as Nelly was rushed to Mercy Health - Lorain Hospital’s emergency department.

When Nelly arrived, she was considered dead on arrival as her heart was still not beating. However, that did not stop a determined medical team that whisked the mother of five daughters into the trauma room. The dedicated team of physicians and nurses worked nonstop for an hour – amid ongoing prayer from her husband, Roberto – and successfully revived Nelly, giving her a chance to continue her much-loved job as a social worker, volunteer with youth at her church and watch her daughters continue their paths in life.

That day – February 6, 2016 – is etched in her mind. Not that Nelly can remember anything from that day or even the day before. The last thing she remembered was sitting in a meeting on the previous Thursday. In fact, after she was resuscitated and admitted to Mercy Health - Lorain Hospital’s intensive care unit, it was another two and a half weeks before she woke up and remembered anything about her life.

“I was treated with such kindness, like you would your own daughter,” explained Nelly. “While in the ICU, I was in a medically induced coma to help me heal as I was fighting many complications. I knew I was surrounded by nurses and staff who took not only loving care of me, but also of my family.

“I experienced such tenderness, warmth and compassion from everyone at Mercy. They tended to my body and soul, and also gave comfort to my husband and daughters who were distraught.”

Nelly continued, “When you have so much CPR and go through such an extensive recovery, your entire body aches. The staff knew that and took every precaution to ease my pain and worry.”

Over the next seven weeks, Nelly battled kidney and liver failure, sepsis and pneumonia, along with internal bleeding. Her heart had stopped for nearly two hours, so physicians expected some neurological complications, but her recovery was amazing.

While she was incredibly weak, she continued to improve while under the care of physicians and nurses at Mercy Health - Lorain Hospital. An internal defibrillator was implanted to shock her heart in case of a recurrence, and she eventually had another procedure to prevent further complications.

It took an entire year for Nelly to fully recover from the frightening cardiac event. Over the course of the past year, she underwent many tests and participated in Mercy Health - Lorain Hospital’s onsite cardiac rehab program and the monthly cardiac support group.

“Therapy was difficult, because I was so afraid and often struggling to keep going, but the rehab team understood my fears and helped me face them. I knew with them by my side, I could complete the program and come back stronger.”  

Nelly’s story has a positive ending, but not everyone who experiences cardiac arrest survives. Last year, the American Heart Association reported that nearly 385,000 people in the United States went into out-of-hospital Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Patients have a double and even triple chance of surviving if a bystander or family member can perform CPR prior to the arrival of trained emergency medical personnel.

“The medical team needs to know that everything they do matters. I never realized how much the little things meant until I became a patient. The staff at Mercy Health – Lorain Hospital made me feel safe. They are my heroes! They do their jobs professionally and with a lot of heart.”