Woman recalls saving husband's life after allergic reaction

Lori Gentry performed CPR on her husband James after he collapsed from a reaction to his new medication


By Landon Fisher
The Herald Banner 

GREENVILLE, Texas — Greenville residents James and Lori Gentry have been together for 30 years and happily married for 25, but all of that nearly came to an abrupt halt on one harrowing night in early December.

James had just had a stent placed in his leg, and his cardiologist had placed him on a new medication to help with the procedure recovery, but what James didn’t know was his apparent allergy to this new medication.

“He had been asleep for about an hour-and-a-half, when he came out into the kitchen and sad he wasn’t feeling good,” Lori said.

That’s when he collapsed on the kitchen floor.

Lori said that she tried to help him sit up, but sitting up was making it worse. Within seconds, he had collapsed again, and his tongue had become so swollen that he stopped breathing.

“I panicked at first,” Lori recalled. “I was frustrated and upset and feeling all sorts of emotions, but then I realized I could do something.”

Luckily for both of them, before she and James were married, she was living in Pennsylvania and working on an ambulance crew, which taught her CPR.

“I had called 9-1-1 and they were sending an ambulance, but then I remembered that I can do CPR,” Lori said. “I did CPR until he was breathing again, and 30 seconds later he stopped again.”

That process would repeat itself two more times before an ambulance arrived, and each time Lori managed to pull her husband back from the edge of death, and all with a skill she had learned decades before and had never utilized outside of practice.

Lori said that they never did figure out exactly what interaction or allergy caused the life-threatening reaction, but – taking no risks – the new medication was replaced and nothing has happened since.

“I’m just thankful he’s alive,” Lori said. “We sometimes talk about what we would do if the other were to die, but I just don’t know what I’d do without him. We laugh and joke together all the time, and we don’t fight or argue at all.”Woman recalls saving husband's life

Adding to the miracle of Lori’s incredible life-saving was the incident’s timing – James is a full-time, pan-American truck driver and often spends days (or weeks) on the road. For 15 years early in their marriage, Lori would join him, but if the medication reaction had happened somewhere on the road, the outcome would almost certainly have been different.

“No doubt about it, she’s my hero,” James said. “She just would not give up on me! I’m glad she loves me that much.”

Copyright 2019 The Herald Banner 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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