Seven students left their dorm rooms in Watson Hall last Saturday and drove to Pennsylvania Presbyterian hospital to visit their floor mate Robert Cuyjet‘19, who is suffering from problems related to his heart.
Sydney Edelson‘19, one of Robert’s good friends, was the only one of the students allowed to go into the room and visit him.
“I’ll never ever forget the experience,” she said. Cuyjet’s eyes were shut when she entered the room, Edelson said, but he recognized her voice when she spoke.
“He was so full of wit and character and spunk,” she said, adding that he was very responsive when she saw him. It was his 19th birthday the day after her visit.
Cuyjet was at his aunt and uncle’s house four days before classes started, packing to return to Lafayette College, when he collapsed. Edelson said Cuyjet had a heart attack and his lungs were filled with fluid, but the doctors still are not sure what caused it.
His aunt and uncle, who are physical therapists, administered CPRbefore an ambulance came to pick him up. He was rushed to Wilkes Barre General Hospital, and then was airlifted to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center after they realized he needed more attention. His father, Chuck Cuyjet; mother, Sheila and his sister, Esther,rushed to the hospital in Philadelphia from their home in northern Virginia when they heard the news.
At press time, Robert successfully underwent a procedure to implant a defibrillator, Chuck wrote in an email. Because the doctors still do not know what caused the cardiac arrest, they decided it was best to “have a preventive measure in place in case of future incidents,” he wrote.
When Robert first arrived at the hospital, he was treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), Edelson and Chuck said. ECMO inserts oxygen into the patient’s blood and removes carbon dioxide, when the lungs aren’t functioning by themselves, according to a report on the device by ABC Action News in Philadelphia.
Robert is now breathing on his own, Edelson said. Robert’s parents are now living with family members in Philadelphia while he is in the hospital.