'Thank you for helping my daddy'

Liam's Thank You Card

When 35-year-old Adam Wamboldt was discharged from the QEII Health Sciences Centre on June 11, he expected to head home to the South Shore, where he lives with his wife and three young children. 

As Adam walked through the halls of the QEII’s Halifax Infirmary toward the exit, he watched his six-year-old son skip ahead and his wife, Audrey, speed to keep up. That’s the last thing Adam remembers before becoming dizzy and reaching for the hand rail. 

“We knew things weren’t good,” said Pat Froese, one of the paramedics who responded after Audrey called for help and a code blue was activated to signal a potential cardiac arrest. “I was able to call the (emergency) department and let them know we had someone who was critically ill.”

Adam moved in and out of consciousness as paramedics transported him downstairs to the Charles V. Keating Emergency and Trauma Centre for treatment. His heart stopped in the trauma room. 

“I flat-lined twice,” said Adam. “They did 40 minutes of CPR to bring me back. When a doctor tells you you’re a walking, talking miracle, it really hits home.” 

Adam would later learn he’d experienced a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in the lung, which caused the cardiac arrest. 

Kristen Goldsworthy was among the nurses who assisted during Adam’s cardiac arrest. She says having a few minutes advance notice of Adam’s arrival and condition “gave us the opportunity to predict what could happen” and ensure they had the right medications, equipment and people on hand.

For the team of staff in the emergency department and Intensive Care Unit who treated and cared for Adam, their actions were all part of a day’s work. For Adam, Audrey and their children, staff efforts meant so much more. 

On Father’s Day, June 19, Adam’s six-year-old son Liam delivered a homemade card to staff in the emergency department with the hand-printed message, “Thank you for helping my daddy.” 

Audrey echoed Liam’s thanks with a note of her own, saying, “To know that we were so close to losing him is unimaginable. Thank you for persevering through the unknown and giving him a fighting chance.”

Froese and Goldsworthy say receiving the card meant a lot to the team. “People come in, we resuscitate them, we give them a chance and you don’t always find out if it was successful,” said Froese. “It’s nice to hear he is feeling better and is back with his family.”

“It’s a reminder of how rewarding and important our role really is,” said Goldsworthy. 

Adam returned home from hospital June 23. As he continues to recuperate and the Wamboldts settle back into normal family life, Audrey summarized their gratitude for the staff who helped make it happen, “They gave him back to us.”