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West Valley resident survives medical scare

Thursday, February 21, 20131056 views

On Jan. 24, Nathaniel Bingaman, 27, went into work at the Sears department store in downtown Salt Lake City. It felt like a normal day for him as he sat at his desk, but the next thing he remembers is waking up in the hospital two days later.

“I was over a flu I had recently, but I had a cough I couldn’t get rid of,” Bingaman said. “I still didn’t have much of an appetite, but other than that, I felt pretty good heading into work that day.”

Though Bingaman didn’t know it at the time, his persistent cough had turned into pneumonia, and the viral infection that left him without an appetite also left his body critically low on both potassium and electrolytes.

Soon after arriving at work, a co-worker happened to notice Bingaman slumped over in his chair in his office.

“I obviously don’t remember what happened, but security footage in my office shows that I was tapping at my computer and then just slumped over suddenly,” Bingaman said. “Luckily, it was only about a minute before someone saw me in there.”

Bingaman had gone into cardiac arrest. Co-workers came running to help him.

“The first guy [Dennis Sharp] who came started to perform mouth-to-mouth because he saw I wasn’t breathing and didn’t know what else to do,” Bingaman said.

Then, co-worker Stacy Wood, who had learned CPR in the military, came in and began pumping Bingaman’s chest to try and get his heart going again.

Soon afterward, staff from the dentist’s office that is located inside the Sears building came with a defibrillator. Though none of these attempts fully revived him, the paramedics arrived within a matter of minutes and were able to start Bingaman’s heart before rushing him to the emergency room.

“I think that all of these incredible people who found me and helped me did such a great job and really saved my life,” he said. “The story is really that they were so quick to respond and helpful, and they are the reason I am alive. They are the real heroes.”

At Salt Lake Regional Hospital, Bingaman was put in an induced coma while his body was replenished with fluids. Doctors there feared further heart attacks and even brain damage.

“After a few days, though, they woke me up and ran a bunch of tests on me,” Bingaman said. “They wanted to make sure I was alright, but everything checked out on all the tests, so I was able to go home after being in the hospital for five days.”

Though he has had, and will continue to have, follow-up appointments with a neurologist and cardiologist, everything points to Bingaman making a full recovery.

“Aside from a bit of a sore chest [from the CPR], I feel great now,” he said. “Of course, I don’t remember any of the scary stuff that happened.”

Along with feeling better, Bingaman says he is also full of gratitude for the co-workers, paramedics and physicians who saved his life.

“Things obviously could have gone a lot worse,” he said. “I am just so grateful that everyone was there to help me out.”

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