Northeast Tarrant

Her heart stopped beating at work, so her co-workers went into action

Tane Kidwell, 64, center, went into cardiac arrest while on the job as a cashier at the Walmart in Bedford on Aug. 6. She meets with two of the people who helped save her life, assistant managers Monika Singh, left, and Stephanie Evans, on Oct. 25.
Tane Kidwell, 64, center, went into cardiac arrest while on the job as a cashier at the Walmart in Bedford on Aug. 6. She meets with two of the people who helped save her life, assistant managers Monika Singh, left, and Stephanie Evans, on Oct. 25. jlmarshall@star-telegram.com

The last thing Tane Kidwell remembered was returning to her checkout stand at Walmart after taking a lunch break. The next thing she knew, she was waking up in the Texas Health H-E-B emergency room.

But her co-workers, or her “angels” as Kidwell describes them, remember everything that happened the evening of Aug. 6 when Kidwell collapsed in cardiac arrest after saying that her chest didn’t feel right.

Kidwell wanted to thank them for saving her life, and they were recently united at the Walmart Supercenter in Bedford where she plans to return to her cashier’s job once she regains her strength.

Monika Singh recalled seeing her friend lying on the ground.

“Everyone came running. Oh, my God, everything was happening so fast. We had to clear the register and had to clear the crowd; everyone wants to look,” Singh said.

Stephanie Evans, another co-worker said, she started praying and called 911.

Mike Gross, an assistant manager, said that when Kidwell came back from her break, she complained of chest pains.

“I asked if she was all right, and she said she was fine,” he said.

Gross went outside to take a break. A call on his radio sent him running back in to the store.

“When I got there, I propped her head up. I kept yelling her name and telling her to wake up,” he said.

“I was about to start CPR when the Fire Department came in. Her lips were turning blue. It was scary,” he said.

The Fire Department received the call at 6:45 p.m. and paramedics arrived four minutes later.

Kidwell, 64, ended up having triple bypass surgery. She said she didn’t have symptoms of heart disease, such as shortness of breath or chest pains, before she went in to full cardiac arrest. She recently participated in a symposium on heart disease at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital H-E-B.

Dr. Samuel Nussbaumer, an interventional cardiologist at Texas Health H-E-B who helped treat Kidwell, said Kidwell’s story illustrates the need to emphasize awareness about heart disease.

“Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in men and women over cancer and other medical disorders,” he said.

People often associate a heart attack with chest pains, but that isn’t always the case, he said.

Women who have a heart attack don’t always have chest pains or discomfort, Nussbaumer said. They might have shortness of breath when exerting themselves, pain in the upper jaw or neck, or nausea.

If people have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or other risk factors, it is important to treat those conditions, he said.

Some have been curious about whether Kidwell saw or felt anything while her heart was stopped.

“People ask me all of the time if I had an out-of-body experience. ‘Well, did you see the light?’ I said, ‘No, but I didn’t see the flames of hell either.’ I’ve said all along that God has something else planned for me.”

“It is very emotional to think that I had actually died,” she said. “I can’t believe that it happened until I see the [surgical] scar.”

Elizabeth Campbell: 817-390-7696, @fwstliz

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