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Jim Whisnand walks on a treadmill at the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at Fallbrook Hospital, while being monitored by center director Nancy Barber, RN, left.
Jim Whisnand walks on a treadmill at the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at Fallbrook Hospital, while being monitored by center director Nancy Barber, R...

Fallbrook native thankful to be alive

After collapsing at Hot Summer Nites in 2011, Jim Whisnand shares his awesome story of survival

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
Issue 47, Volume 16.
Debbie Ramsey
Managing Editor

Jim Whisnand is thankful. First and foremost, he is thankful to be alive. And it appears he wouldn’t be if some members of the Fallbrook community hadn’t pulled together and saved his life.

"I wouldn’t be here today if certain people didn’t do what they did," said Whisnand, 58.

A Fallbrook native and 1973 graduate of Fallbrook High School, Whisnand is now the father of six and grandfather of 15. Given Whisnand’s healthy lifestyle, what happened on Friday, June 24, 2011 came as a complete surprise. After working all day at his job as a backflow technician for Fallbrook Public Utility District, Whisnand had come home and worked in the yard. When he finished, his wife suggested they go on an outing.

"My wife, Judy, and I went to Hot Summer Nites downtown and took our grandson Nicholas, who was three at the time, with us," he explained.

Whisnand had just made a second trip up and down a giant inflatable slide with Nicholas, when he suddenly felt dizzy and collapsed on the ground.

"We had just started walking around again near the intersection of Main and Hawthorne when I felt myself starting to lose consciousness," he said.

Immediately, his wife and some bystanders reacted, calling over paramedics from North County Fire who were standing just a few yards away.

"Luckily, the fire department was right there," said Whisnand.

Battalion Chief Stephen Abbott was working at the event with North County Fire’s Station One ‘A’ Crew.

"[Our crew] was roaming the event, walking the street, when a bystander approached me and said a person was down – a block away," said Abbott. "I radioed the rest of the crew and when we got to him, he was still breathing, but it was obvious something very significant was going on."

Paramedics went to work, bringing equipment with them.

"Shortly after we reached him, he went into cardiac arrest," said Abbott.

Abbott said paramedics initiated CPR and put an AutoPulse chest compression device into action. The device involves a battery-operated pump which squeezes the entire chest area, allowing the cardiac victim more consistent, high quality compressions versus the application of manual CPR.

"What was unique is that [Whisnand] had essentially no down time after going into cardiac arrest," he explained. "We were with him, had AutoPulse working, and had a very short transport time to Fallbrook Hospital’s Emergency Room, which was only two or three blocks away."

Abbott said Whisnand ended up receiving CPR in excess of 45 minutes.

"It is certainly very rare to have CPR go on so long," said Abbott. "When we arrived at the emergency room (ER), we worked together with the ER team." The reason for that, he explained, was if paramedics continued to operate the AutoPulse device, it freed up ER staff to address other needs.

"If humans are administering CPR, you have to rotate every two minutes because it is so tiring," said Abbott.

Another very unique thing happened, Abbott said. "For the first time in my 25-year career, I saw a person move purposefully while receiving CPR."

"Clinically, [Whisnand] was dead; physiologically he was still very much alive," he said.

Dr. Graydon Skeoch, medical director for the Fallbrook Hospital emergency room, said because Whisnand received CPR within two minutes of his collapse, "he had a good chance for survival."

Skeoch said the emergency room physician on duty, Dr. Jaro Sasanka, worked immediately to feed a tube down Whisnand’s throat and into his lungs in order to supply oxygen to all his organs.

"Essentially, they were buying time until his heart started beating on its own again," said Skeoch. And it was a challenging time.

"I was told that I ‘flatlined’ three times," said Whisnand. "These people saved my life."

Whisnand was eventually stabilized and after being in Fallbrook Hospital overnight, was transferred to Tri City Hospital.

"I spent the next four days at Tri City and have nothing good to say about that facility," said Whisnand.

Whisnand was then transferred to Sharp Hospital in San Diego.

"I spent three weeks at Sharp’s and received good quality care and eventually had a pacemaker implanted 11 days later [on July 5]," said Whisnand. The problem, as it turned out, wasn’t arterial problems, as Whisnand’s tests came out clear of any blockages. Instead, the problem was electrical in nature.

"It was actually a short circuit in my heart," he explained.

He then returned home to recuperate. In August, he Advertisement
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began physical therapy and a three-month cardiac rehabilitation program offered by Fallbrook Hospital.

"The rehabilitation program made a big difference for me," Whisnand said. "I got my stamina and endurance back; when I first got out of the hospital, I could barely walk."

Whisnand explained that Fallbrook Hospital’s cardiac rehab program includes close monitoring of each patient.

"The nurses move you along as you are ready; they work to build up your endurance," he said. "They are able to monitor a person here in a totally different way; they run EKG strips on you every 10 minutes or so. It’s a different level of monitoring than at a regular health club or gym."

Whisnand is certain he wouldn’t have survived the cardiac arrest without the local paramedics and emergency room care at Fallbrook Hospital.

"Life is something you can’t put a price on," said Whisnand. "I want to thank all the paramedics, the emergency room doctor and staff, and everyone that was praying for me. I would have never made it otherwise."

Given the challenges Fallbrook Hospital has faced over the past year in keeping patients local, with large out-of-town hospitals vying for its customer base, one must realize what could have happened in Whisnand’s case if Fallbrook Hospital was not in existence.

Dr. Skeoch had no hesitation in offering his medical opinion.

"If this patient had to have been taken out of town, he would not be alive," said Skeoch. "Our EMS (paramedic) technicians are very well trained, but getting an airway established properly is the key. Most EMT’s are pretty good at it, but the faster you get a patient to an emergency room and not bouncing around in the back of an ambulance is the difference between night and day." Skeoch said in an ambulance there are challenges keeping tubes in place, making it more difficult to stabilize a patient.

"Being in the ER immediately increased his chances of survival immensely, versus a 45-minute transport," he added. "There is no way he would have survived an extended transport out of town."

In reviewing Whisnand’s case, Skeoch also said Dr. Sasanka "thought outside of the box," adapting treatment methods to achieve maximum success.

"That made a difference in this guy’s life," said Skeoch.

Abbott said the teamwork involved in Whisnand’s case was outstanding, in his opinion.

"Having paramedics so close and Fallbrook Hospital’s emergency room handy led to good teamwork by all parties involved," said Abbott.

Abbott also said he was impressed how well Whisnand did after the prolonged CPR effort.

"He was obviously healthy enough to be able to withstand 45 minutes of CPR; that is pretty brutal," said Abbott. "He must have been in good shape to start with – and it sure made a difference."

Abbott also said the incident was the "most significant medical situation at a Fallbrook street event in recent history."

"We are just really happy he is doing well," he added.

Cardiac rehabilitation center director Nancy Barber, RN, said the program offered creates "camaraderie between the patients; they discover they have their own support group because they can relate to each other’s experiences."

Barber said the thing she enjoys the most about her job is "it’s very personal."

"I am sure glad we have our community hospital; the staff is caring and that makes it a great place to work," she said, adding that having Jim Whisnand in the program has been a great experience for the staff.

Whisnand is doing well, very well. He said he still has goals he is working towards, and is determined to achieve them.

"I need to lose a few pounds and want to continue to build more endurance," he said. "And I am really looking forward to being able to drive again in December."

Volunteer drivers with the Fallbrook Hospital Auxiliary have been another blessing to Whisnand, picking him up and transporting him to his rehabilitation therapy sessions.

In true Fallbrook form, Whisnand, who is no stranger to volunteer work, being a regular volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul thrift store before his health incident, said, "I’d like to pay forward everything that everyone has done for me."

AutoPulse devices

The AutoPulse devices used by North County Fire paramedics were provided through a grant by the Fallbrook Healthcare District.

"We had another CPR save recently due specifically to the AutoPulse device," said Stephen Abbott, battalion chief for North County Fire. "The device is certainly worth its weight in gold."



Comment Profile Imagejohn watson
Comment #1 | Wednesday, Nov 21, 2012 at 4:26 pm
Amen to a full-up ER in Fallbrook. And amen to the Falbrook Cardio Rehab program. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt
Comment Profile ImageBill Hawkins
Comment #2 | Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 7:04 pm
DAB Safety Team Report VI

The DAB Safety Team: November 26, 2012

Media Contact: Don Leichtling (619) 296-9928 or Ace Hoffman (760) 720-7261

San Onofre’s Restart Reports Fail BOTH NRC Safety Definition & Quality Assurance Standards

The DAB Safety Team has serious concerns about SCE’s Unit 2’s Restart Reports, because these reports do not meet the NRC Chairman’s Safety Definition nor do they satisfy the NRC’s 10CFR50, Appendix B Quality Assurance Standards.

Ultimate Responsibility: The top U.S. nuclear safety official, the Chairman of the NRC said earlier this month the operator of the idled San Onofre nuclear plant is ultimately responsible for ensuring the quality of equipment and work provided by vendors or its contractors. Addressing nuclear industry executives in Atlanta, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Allison Macfarlane touched upon challenges at the idled San Onofre nuclear station and highlighted the responsibilities of the plant license holder. “This obligation extends to the licensees’ use of vendors and contractors,” McFarlane said. “The licensee is ultimately responsible for the work done by their vendors and contractors to ensure they meet our quality assurance requirements.” [Source: U-T San Diego November 7-2012]

Question Number 1: Why the massive tube damage at SONGS?

More than 100 Replacement Steam Generators (RSGs) in the USA with Alloy 690 TT Tubes have been designed, fabricated and tested by Westinghouse, BWI and other vendors, including Fort Calhoun by MHI. These steam generators have only had very few plugged tubes according to NUREG-1841 and Professor Dan Hirsch’s September 12, 2012 Report. MHI has built more than 100 Steam Generators since 1970. Only Mihama Unit 2 SG built by MHI had a single tube rupture due to a displaced Anti Vibration Bar. The question is, why did the SONGS Replacement Steam Generators suffer so much severe degradation in such a short time? Is this the fault of SCE’s in-house design team, their Performance Specifications coupled with their numerous design changes and or the MHI Fabrication/Testing Technology combined with Faulty Thermal-Hydraulic Computer Codes? The DAB Safety Team and the Public expected that SCE and their three NEI Qualified, “US Nuclear Power Plant Designers”, Westinghouse, AREVA and MHI would arrive at a concise and clear answer (Meeting the NRC Quality Assurance requirements as stated by NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane) to this puzzling question in the Unit 2 Return to Service Report.

Observation Number 1: The SCE Cause Evaluation Report, Operational Assessments reports prepared by SCE, AREVA and Westinghouse, and MHI Technical reports conflict and contradict with each other on the causes and extent of degradation pertaining to the fluid elastic instability in SONGS Unit 2 Steam Generator Replacement Generators (RSGs) and Tube-to-AVB gaps in both Unit 3 and Unit 2 RSG’s. MHI further states that specific causes that resulted in tubes being susceptible to fluid-elastic excitation are not yet completely known. Furthermore SCE has not plugged all the 2 tubes in one of the Unit 2 RSG’s nor have they removed the Retaining Bars (RB’s) as recommended by MHI in their latest NRC notification, issued after their preliminary report!

Operational Note For Observation Number 1: Unit 2 was running at higher steam pressures than Unit 3 and lower thermal power than Unit 3. That is why the void fractions were lower than 98.5% and no fluid elastic instability occurred in Unit 2. AREVA, Westinghouse, MHI and SCE missed this key observation in the SCE Unit 2 restart Plan. At least one person working at SONGS spoke up about this fact but nobody listened to him and it was ignored because everybody in SCE was focused on blaming MHI to recover the insurance money and or absolving themselves of all blame. The DAB Safety Team will explain the probable reasons other than the ECT results for Unit 3’s increased clearances between the anti-vibration bars and the tubes in their next Press Release.

Comments and Observations about Obervation Number 1: It is the opinion of the DAB Safety Team’s Expert Panel, former NRC Staff and SONGS Concerned Insiders that this Westinghouse Operational Assessment is full of holes based on incomplete inspection data, under-conservative computer modeling and is in effect, just “Smoke & Mirrors,” because:

(1) SCE Engineers have either not provided, or they are withholding important information from Westinghouse because of “The consequences of being Wrong, Terminated or Fired,”

(2) Due to competing and proprietary interests between Westinghouse and MHI, Westinghouse Engineers do not have all the MHI Manufacturing Details and are just guessing in their Deterministic Operational Analysis of Unit 2, the second worst Degraded Replacement Steam Generators in the Operating US Nuclear Fleet,

(3) Due to Time Pressure exerted by SCE, Westinghouse Staff did not have proper time for independent validation of all facts, documentation and data provided by SCE’s Engineers, in their original report.

(4) Since nobody knows what really happened, all the Parties have a shared interest to “Operate Unit 2 at reduced power as a nuclear “RSG Tube Wear Test Lab”.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) Observations: UCS has serious concerns about Southern California Edison’s (SCE) restart plans for San Onofre Unit 2. In a 10/12/2012 letter submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), David Lochbaum, Director, Nuclear Safety Project, identified the following issues:

0 - Unit 2 replacement steam generator 2SG89 has significantly more wear indications per number of supports than does [Unit 2] replacement steam generator 2SG88. Until the reason for this marked difference between the wear degradation for the Unit 2 replacement steam generators is understood, the operational assessment performed for future operation is suspect.

0- Since all four replacement steam generators came from the same manufacturer, were of the same design, made of the same materials, assembled using the same procedures, and operated under nearly identical conditions in twin reactors, the reason for this marked difference is unclear… [the] explanation is not well documented and therefore appears to be more convenient than factual.

o - The document states that the owner will “administratively limit Unit 2 to 70% reactor power prior to a mid-cycle” outage to inspect the replacement steam generators. What are the legal and safety consequences if the reactor power were to increase to 75%, 85% or 100% power, advertently or inadvertently? The NRC has licensed San Onofre Unit 2 to operate at 100% power. What would legally prevent the owner from restarting Unit 2 and increasing its output to the NRC licensed limit? The NRC’s enforcement program includes sanctions when its regulations are violated, but nothing if promises are broken. If the NRC agrees that reactor operation at less than 100 percent power is warranted, it should enforce that reduction with an order or comparable legally enforceable document. However even that will not necessarily prevent its occurrence. Has NRC even considered that fact?

o- Table 8-1 of Enclosure 2 and its accompanying text attempt to explain how operating Unit 2 at 70% power will prevent the tube-to-tube wear (TTW) experienced on Unit 3 by comparing it to an anonymous reactor (called Plant A). Reliance on one suspect data point (Plant A) is hardly solid justification for operation at 70% power being acceptable.

o - There is no justification in this 80-plus-page document for an operating duration of 150 days.

0 - There are no legal means compelling the plant’s owner to shut down Unit 2 after 150 days of operation at or above 15% power.

o - A temporary nitrogen-16 radiation detection system will be installed prior to the Unit 2 startup. However, there is no commitment to use it after startup, or to keep it in service should it stop functioning. The detection system is proposed as a defense-in-depth measure, but there is no assurance it will be operated. Furthermore, it will NOT provide the necessary warning that tube rupture is eminent. It will only indicate that it is already occurring.

o - Attachment 6 to Enclosure 2 has proprietary information redacted. Section 1.4 of Enclosure 2 states that the owner used AREVA, Westinghouse Electric Company LLC, and Intertie/APTECH to review the operational assessment. At least one of these companies manufactures replacement steam generators and would therefore be a competitor to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), which made the replacement steam generators for San Onofre. If the owner did not withhold the proprietary information from MHI’s competitors, why withhold it at all? If SCE did withhold the proprietary information from these reviewers, what is the value of their independent, but limited, review?

The DAB Safety Team Conclusions: The DAB Safety Team Agrees with NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane that SCE is ultimately responsible for the work done by their vendors and contractors to ensure they meet our quality assurance requirements. Based upon the review of all Restart Documents and all the issues identified by David Lochbaum, The DAB Safety Team’s Expert Panel along with their SONGS Concerned Insiders opinion that these reports are full of holes and based on incomplete inspection and or operational data, under-conservative computer modeling and represents Smoke & Mirrors which does not meet the NRC Chairwoman’s Safety Definitionnor the standards outlined in the 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, “Quality Assurance Criteria for Nuclear Power Plants and Fuel Reprocessing Plants.”

The DAB Safety Team Question: The Trillion Dollar Question is now, how can the NRC’s Region IV in good faith, even consider having a November 30 Public Hearing, except to possibly give SCE a Billion Dollar Christmas present, by allowing them to restart their damaged Unit 2 without a 50.90 License Amendment Process by completely ignoring the safety of all those living in Southern California due to the potential of having a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster at San Onofre because of their already well documented massively damaged RSG tubes?

Copyright November 26, 2012 by The DAB Safety Team. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed without crediting The DAB Safety Team. The contents cannot be altered without the Written Permission of the DAB Safety Team Leader and or the DAB Safety Team’s Attorneys.

Please share this story with your friends and neighbors.... THANKS DAB Safety Team
Comment Profile ImageJoel Bonomi
Comment #3 | Thursday, Nov 29, 2012 at 8:54 pm
I had recently retired from the fire service after 32 yrs and my wife and I relocated to Fallbrook. Only being here for a few months , we decided to see what these "hot summer nights" were all about. We were there about 20 minutes when I heard a women screaming . Ilooked over on the street and saw Mr. Whisnand in full arrest. I have seen and worked hundreds of full arrests during my carreer as a FF/Paramedic. I helped as best I could without getting in the way, knowing its a fine line between helping and getting in the way during a working full arrest. The FD on scene seemed to be handling the situation efficiently. I half to say that most full arrests do not turn out very well and this one did not look any different. I was happily surprised that this one did. You just never know when everything is aligned in your favor and your ticket is not ready to be cashed. Obviously God has other plans for Mr. Whisnand.

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Fallbrook Village News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.


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