Rep. Becky Carney of Mecklenburg County with Mark Fleming, vice president of Government Affairs for Blue Cross NC, at an April 3 legislative reception honoring her.
RALEIGH, N.C. – State Representative Becky Carney has served as a legislator for 16 years, yet she’s just now celebrating her 10th birthday with members and staff at the North Carolina General Assembly.
Rep. Carney was recognized on April 3 as a 10-year survivor of sudden cardiac arrest, which took place at the Legislative Building on April 2, 2009. Fast action by legislative staff and first responders helped save her life. In a matter of minutes, local EMS arrived and Rep. Carney was on her way to the WakeMed Heart Center’s catheterization lab for immediate intervention, followed by ongoing treatment at UNC Health Care.
The event helped prompt Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, UNC Health Care and WakeMed Health & Hospitals to initiate or continue funding for automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in public settings such as athletic facilities, schools and places of worship.
“After surviving sudden cardiac death, I have enjoyed 10 years of renewed life against all odds,” Rep. Carney said. “During this season of renewal, I am profoundly reminded of the importance of faith, family, friends, and certainly access to health care and health care professionals. I am so fortunate to have access to excellent care, and I believe that health and wellness should not be out of reach for any of our North Carolina citizens. I’ve been deeply humbled by this experience, and I consider it a privilege to continue my commitment to public service. My experience demonstrates that anyone can survive and thrive.”
When Rep. Carney’s incident occurred, among the first on the scene to assist were her administrative assistant, officers with the legislative security staff, and Mark Fleming, vice president of Government Affairs at Blue Cross NC. Also assisting was former state Rep. Bob England, MD, who performed CPR and used a nearby AED to restart her heart.
Matthew Hook, MD, a cardiologist affiliated with WakeMed at the time, performed a critical cardiac intervention at the WakeMed Heart Center and served as a source of calm and comfort for Rep. Carney’s family and friends.
“Quick response with any heart problem is crucial to saving lives and ensuring that survivors can continue to lead healthy and productive lives,” said Dr. Hook, who now works with N.C. Heart & Vascular and UNC Health Care. “AEDs, bystander CPR and increased awareness and education are important tools to help save more heart patients. It’s exciting to me when I see patients like Rep. Carney celebrate milestones thanks to improvements in heart treatment and technology.”
Blue Cross NC, along with Rep. Carney, the American Red Cross, and the North Carolina Council of Churches launched Strive to Revive, a program that placed 235 life-saving AEDs in houses of worship across the state. Additionally, UNC Health Care has donated AEDs to Triangle-area high schools. WakeMed donated AEDs to all Wake County middle and high schools beginning in 2003 and provides CPR skills education in Wake County.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities by providing innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.8 million members, including approximately 1.1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at bluecrossnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
About UNC Health Care
UNC Health Care is an integrated health care system owned by the state of North Carolina and based in Chapel Hill. It exists to further the teaching mission of the University of North Carolina and to provide state-of-the-art patient care. UNC Health Care is comprised of UNC Hospitals at Chapel Hill, ranked consistently among the best medical centers in the country; the UNC School of Medicine, a nationally eminent research institution; Pardee UNC Health Care in Hendersonville; Chatham Hospital in Siler City; Johnston Health in Clayton and Smithfield; UNC Lenoir Health Care in Kinston; Wayne UNC Health Care in Goldsboro; Caldwell UNC Health Care in Lenoir; Nash UNC Health Care in Rocky Mount; UNC Rockingham Health Care in Eden, Onslow Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, UNC REX Healthcare and its provider network in Wake County; and the UNC Physicians Network. For more information, please visit www.unchealthcare.org.
About WakeMed Health & Hospitals
Serving the community since 1961, WakeMed is a not-for-profit health care system founded and based in Raleigh, N.C. The largest health system in Wake County, WakeMed exists to improve the health and well-being of our community by providing outstanding and compassionate care to all. The 941-bed system comprises a network of facilities throughout the Triangle area, including three full-service hospitals, seven emergency departments, a dedicated Children’s Hospital and Rehabilitation Hospital, more than 80 physician offices and Wake County’s only Level I Trauma Center. WakeMed is a leader in heart and vascular care, women’s and children’s services, emergency medicine and trauma care, physical rehabilitation, orthopaedics and neurosciences. WakeMed’s mission-driven team includes more than 9,100 employees, 1,500 volunteers, 1,300 affiliated physicians and 525 employed physicians. For more information, visit wakemed.org.