Cardiac arrest survivor meets people who saved her life

Penny Ohlemacher is joined by her family, co-workers, as well as members of the Montgomery County Hospital District, Needham Fire Rescue, The Woodlands Fire Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, who all helped save her life.

By Beth O’Brien, reporting for Bluebonnet News of Montgomery County

Penny Ohlemacher suffered a heart attack on May 17, 2018, while she was at her place of work, Martin Brower of Conroe. Her coworkers responded quickly by calling 911 and starting CPR. Thanks to Olhemacher’s coworkers and other organizations, she is alive today.

On Nov. 12, Olhemacher had a chance to reunite with everyone who helped save her life, including co-workers, and members of the Montgomery County Hospital District, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, The Woodlands Fire Department and Needham Fire and Rescue. The reunion took place at Martin Brower. All of the organizations involved were presented with plaques of recognition during the reunion.

“I was here at work that day and passed out at my desk, actually had a heart attack,” Olhemacher told Bluebonnet News. One of my co-workers, Lacy Anderson, did CPR for about nine minutes here until the EMT’S arrived, and for her, I’m so blessed to have her, because without her, I wouldn’t have been here until the EMTs arrived.”

Olhemacher is also very grateful to everyone else involved in saving her life.

“I’ve heard that there was a big group that day, normally there’s four or five on scene, but I guess I was extra special because I guess there was about 16 of them,” Olhemacher jokingly said.

Olhemacher said they did everything they could to definitely save her and make sure that she was still here today.

Penny Ohlemacher talks to Ashton Herring with the Montgomery County Hospital District about her life being saved and her recovery.
Woodlands Fire Lieutenant Chris Mitcham and Woodlands Firefighter Roger Risley hold recognition plaques for helping to save Penny Ohlemacher’s life.
Needham Fire Department Lieutenant Acel Nichols and Firefighters Connor Stayton and Robert Barfield hold recognition plaques for helping to save Penny Ohlemacher’s life.
Penny Ohlemacher is joined by her family and a co-worker, including Dalton Cranfild, Jason Ohlemacher, Bonnie and Jimmy Simon and Lacy Anderson.

“I’m so thankful and excited to be able to meet them today.”

Olhemacher said she was out of work for eight weeks, came back to work for a couple of weeks, and was out again for another eight weeks after sustaining an injury at the hospital. She came back to work on Nov. 4.

“My heart’s doing great,” Olhemacher said. “I’ve had all my three-month and six-month checkups with my cardiologist, and she has released me and said I’ll see you back in four months.”

Lacy Anderson is the co-worker who performed CPR on Olhemacher.

“At first I wasn’t really sure what was going on, I thought she was having a seizure just by her actions, and then I quickly realized that that wasn’t what it was, that she was in cardiac arrest and needed CPR,” Anderson said.  “Putting everything else aside, all the attention and all that, I’m most thankful that’s she here, that I still have her. I went up to the hospital while she was still in ICU a couple of days after it happened, and just getting to see her big beautiful eyes put me to rest. I knew then that she was going to be okay.”

Brad Shavers is an in-charge paramedic for the Montgomery County Hospital District.

“When we have the opportunity where we can reunite with someone that we’ve had the opportunity to work on and save, it’s kind of nice, because you don’t always get to see the results of your work,” Shavers said. “It’s also good for them as well because they meet the people because they’re not going to remember anything that happened. We really relish these moments because we see someone work really hard and we try to do things to help our neighbors and community members, and its kind of impacts. We get to meet them and their family is here as well, so it’s a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling for us as well.”

Co-workers of Penny Ohlemacher at Martin Brower, who are holding recognition plaques for helping to save her life.
Konrad Janke and Kelen Powell with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Woodlands Patrol display recognition plaques for helping to save Penny Ohlemacher’s life.
Aaron Guembes, Brad Shavers and Scott Sanders with the Montgomery County Hospital District hold recognition plaques for helping to save Penny Ohlemacher’s life.

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