This article was posted 09/17/2007 and is most likely outdated.

Cornell grad leaves hospital 4 days after electrical accident


Topic - Grounding/Safety
Subject - Cornell grad leaves hospital 4 days after electrical accident

September 17, 2007
This newsletter was sent to 26836 newsletter subscribers

Ask a Question |  Weekly Code GraphicQuizzes |  Free Stuff InstructorsOnline Training Products | Seminars | SubscribeUnsubscribe
[ image1 Post Comments | View Comments | Notify Me When Comments Are Added ] Web Page Version [Printer-Friendly]    

Everything went right for Ryan O'Gorman -- after he was 'dead'

Cornell grad leaves hospital 4 days after electrical accident

By Jay Tokasz

Derek Gee/Buffalo News


During Friday’s news conference, Ryan O’Gorman is flanked by his dad, Dr. Kevin O’Gorman, and friend Anne Marie Bugenhagen, a nurse who was with him after he was shocked into cardiac arrest at a farm pond in Eden.


Ryan O’Gorman wasn’t breathing Monday night. He had no pulse, and his heart hadn’t beaten in 20 minutes. For all intents and purposes, he was dead. Yet on Friday afternoon, O’Gorman, 22, pulled a Cornell University baseball cap over his mop of dark curls and walked out of Mercy Hospital with a full future in front of him.

An improbable — many say miraculous — past few days will always accompany O’Gorman, even though he has little recollection of them.

The recent Cornell graduate survived a freak accident in which he was severely shocked into cardiac arrest, while trying to rescue a dog that had jumped into an Eden farm pond.

“I’m surprised it’s only Friday now, and it happened on Monday,” O’Gorman said as he prepared to leave the hospital, relatively unscathed by the events. “I want to say thank you for everybody who helped me out.”

Unbeknownst to O’Gorman, a pump in the pond sent a deadly electrical charge coursing through the water on Monday. The charge killed the dog and left O’Gorman with no heart beat, flat on his back, near the pond bank in a few inches of water.

But almost everything went right for O’Gorman after that fateful moment.

Anne Marie Bugenhagen, a friend with whom he was riding horses Monday evening, is a registered nurse at Mercy Hospital and immediately recognized that electricity was involved.

“His body got rigid, his one arm stood straight out and he fell,” said Bugenhagen. “I just knew it was electricity that did that, it was the only thing that could do that.”

Instead of climbing in the water and being zapped, she ran for help and called 911.

“If she hadn’t done that, the whole chain of events would have been a disaster,” said Dr. Kevin O’Gorman, Ryan’s father. “If she had gone in and she had gotten shocked, we’d have two dead kids.”

Dr. O’Gorman happened to be at a gathering that evening only a few hundred yards away from the pond.

He wasn’t aware of what had happened and went in the water right away to tend to his son.

Dr. O’Gorman said he felt a slight jolt, and he now wonders how he and another man who helped pulled Ryan from the water avoided a more severe shock.

The physician immediately performed CPR on his son.

Lt. John McCarthy, an Eden police officer who volunteers as a firefighter and emergency responder, showed up and took turns with the physician administering CPR.

Mercy Flight received the emergency call at the same time the organization’s helicopter was returning from an earlier call — allowing the helicopter to touch down more quickly than usual.

Paramedic Dan Parr and registered nurse Mike Pisadnick rushed to O’Gorman, much to the relief of McCarthy.

“I saw the guys in the orange suits and said, ‘This is going to get better now,’ ” said McCarthy.

O’Gorman was taken by ambulance to Mercy Hospital because more medics could work on him at the same time in a land vehicle than in a helicopter.

It wasn’t until the ambulance reached the Thruway that O’Gorman’s heart began beating again, and by the time they arrived at the hospital, his blood pressure had returned.

But there was still the larger issue of whether O’Gorman’s brain had been deprived of oxygen for too long.

“A situation like this, you may get a heart beat,” said Pisadnick, “but often the outcome is not good neurologically.”

In the hospital, doctors used a technique known as mild therapeutic hypothermia to drop O’Gorman’s body temperature and help prevent brain damage.

O’Gorman was packed in ice and wrapped in cold blankets to get his temperature down to about 91 degrees, instead of the normal 98.6 degrees.

The theory is that the cooling reduces inflammation and slows down the release of toxic chemicals that can harm brain cells.

While his long-term memory was fine, O’Gorman struggled with short-term memory loss his first few days in the hospital, continually asking family members what happened to him and why he was in the hospital.

The short-term memory is returning quickly, and doctors expressed optimism about O’Gorman’s future.

“He’s been doing very, very well. In a short period of time, he has regained most of his memory,” said Dr. Julio Alvarez, a surgeon. “The way he’s progressing, it seems he will recover on his own.”

McCarthy, the Eden police lieutenant, investigated the source of the electric current and determined this week that the owner of the pond, Christina Abt, would not be charged.

The submersible pump, which had wires with deteriorated sheathing and was not grounded, was installed prior to Abt’s purchase of the property in 1994, he said.

During a news conference in the hospital on Friday, O’Gorman didn’t have too much to say about the accident, other than that he doesn’t remember the horse ride or entering the pond.

His plans were to “go home and probably rest for a while.”

And when questioned about how the events of the past few days may have changed his outlook on life, he answered somewhat sheepishly, “I suppose I’ll be a little more careful around the water.”



Click here to post a comment
[ View More Newsletters ] [ Send to a Friend ] [ Post Comments | View Comments | Notify Me When Comments Are Added ]

Copyright © Mike Holt Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws and may not be
displayed or published on the internet without the prior written permission of Mike Holt Enterprises, Inc.     1-888-NEC-CODE (1-888-632-2633)

Experiencing a Problem? Click Here

    No comments to display

Get notified when new comments are posted here
* Your Email:
Add Your Comments to this Newsletter
* Your Name:
   Your name will appear under your comments.

* Your Email:
   Your email address is not displayed.
* Comments:

Email Notification Options:
Notify me when a reply is posted to this comment
Notify me whenever a comment is posted to this newsletter