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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Daugherty makes strides

June Daugherty is expected to be released from Providence Everett Medical Center within the next 48 hours after having a defibrillator surgically implanted Thursday, her doctors said at a news conference.

The recently hired women’s basketball coach of Washington State, though, can thank her 12-year-old daughter, Breanne, for giving her that chance after she went into cardiac arrest Tuesday afternoon.

Dr. Michael Rohrenbach, Daugherty’s primary care physician, said it was that preteen’s quick thinking and action that saved her mother’s life.

The two were arriving at an Everett clinic for a follow-up appointment, one day after June Daugherty had undergone a stress test, when she passed out in the driveway. Breanne Daugherty, with her mother only because of an illness that kept her out of school for the day, rushed into the clinic to get help and a cardiologist on staff was the first to respond, helping to administer CPR.

“It’s just unbelievably fortunate – providential – that she was where she was at. It was right in the right place at the right time,” Rohrenbach said of the fact that she was so close to a medical facility and with her daughter at her side. “It’s almost assured that she would not have survived if she had been on the freeway, five minutes earlier. That would have been really bad. … If she was at home, if she was by herself, if Bre wasn’t with her – you only have a critical four minutes to five minutes.”

“I thanked her for saving her mom’s life,” Mike Daugherty said of his daughter. … “She did the exact right thing. It’s just amazing.”

Dr. Mahesh Mulumudi, an interventional cardiologist, said that with the surgical procedure completed successfully, there should be no reason that Daugherty can’t return to a normal routine within as little as two weeks.

“She made a miraculous recovery,” Mulumudi said, explaining that Daugherty was breathing on her own within a day of the initial cardiac arrest. “She’s completely with it.”

The defibrillator helps to monitor and regulate the heartbeat and can shock the muscle if it falls out of rhythm. According to Mulumudi, it can last for as long as a decade and generally changes little about the patient’s life.

Rohrenbach said the entire timeline began on April 19, one day before her introductory news conference at WSU, when Daugherty complained of continuing chest palpitations in an annual physical. That prompted Rohrenbach to order an echocardiogram and other tests, which revealed that Daugherty’s heart was not functioning as it should. That discovery led to the stress test, which was on Monday.

“These are by no means routine tests that we would do for a young, healthy 50-year-old,” Rohrenbach said. “It was the fact that she was feeling some palpitations that alerted me to do more testing.”

Still, with the defibrillator in place, Mike Daugherty said he has no concerns about his wife returning to coach at WSU, where he serves as her associate head coach. Daugherty referred to former Washington player Kayla Burt, who experienced cardiac arrest during a game while playing for the Daughertys at UW, as a reason for his confidence. Burt was present at the news conference to lend her support to the family and to speak about life with a defibrillator.

“There’s always stress in coaching,” Mike Daugherty said. “But I think under normal conditions, I don’t foresee this as being any problem in her going forward in her career. We expect a full recovery. We just want to let her recover at her own pace. The people at Washington State have been tremendous, absolutely tremendous, in the way they reacted to this and the things they said.”

He added that his wife woke him up Thursday morning with a phone call, yet another sign that her recovery continues to go well.

“Everything is good right now,” he said.

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