Nita Caperton was in perfect health. A retired preschool teacher originally from California, she settled in Layton 29 years ago with her husband in order to be near her family.
On the evening of August 12, Nita remembers feeling fine. She had just finished a nice dinner with her family, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Suddenly, she fell out of her chair. Her husband, retired from the United States Air Force, recognized the signs of a cardiac arrest, and he immediately began performing compressions. Her son-in-law called 9-1-1.
Paramedics and police officers responded immediately. Authorities were there within minutes, and they rushed her to Davis Hospital and Medical Center. Although she can’t remember much about being in the actual emergency room, her family told her that the doctors and staff were great. “My husband and children all said that everyone in the ER was fantastic. They kept everybody informed of what had happened, what was going on, what they were going to be doing, everything. Then I was transferred to ICU, and I can remember a lot more of that. Everyone there treated me wonderfully, too. Everybody was always concerned about me; they really made me feel like I was special.”
Because of what happened, Nita has encouraged all of her friends and family to get physicals. “In a way, it has helped us, because it did make a lot of my family members and friends start to get physicals. A lot of my family and coworkers are saying, ‘If it can happen to Nita, it can happen to anybody,’ because I really was in perfect health. Even the doctors say my cholesterol was fine and everything else was perfect. My heart just stopped. We had gone through a couple of deaths in the family; my father-in-law, and then my dog was just put down and we had her for 14 years. I don’t know if it was just a combination of everything happening all at once – retirement, the deaths in the family, everything – and it just all of a sudden got to my heart.
Technically, Nita did die that night. Her heart stopped, and the doctors had to shock her twice to revive her. Only 5% of those who suffer cardiac arrest survive, and Nita was one of the very lucky few. “I went to the other side. I was up walking on a cloud. I saw everybody in my family that had passed away, kind of descending in order of what had happened to them. All my animals – except my mother and father, who had passed away quite a long time ago – were up in the front. I saw a man sitting at a desk and called him Saint Peter, and he opened a leger book and said, “Your name is not here, go home,” and I did. It was real; it was not a dream. My husband and I are not very religious – we don’t go to church or anything like that – but I believe that something is out there and I do believe it kept me alive. I had to come back.”
Now, thanks in part to the care that Nita received at Davis Hospital and Medical Center, she says that she feels fantastic. “I would definitely say that Davis is our hospital. We’re very, very pleased. I just retired, and I’m ready to live life to the fullest. Everyone there was wonderful. I feel very fortunate to be alive.”