LAKE PARK, Fla. (CBS12) — A retired letter carrier and U.S. Air Force veteran from Lake Park feels fortunate to be alive and she says she will be forever grateful to a OneBlood phlebotomist who saved her life.
An employee at OneBlood on Northlake Boulevard in Lake Park says she has drawn blood from thousands of people over the years.
But something happened here recently involving a donor that she says has never happened before in her 18-year career.
Patti Bond, a 52-year-old blood and platelet donor from Lake Park, says she owes her life to Latonia Rudolph, a donor service specialist, team leader and phlebotomist at OneBlood.
“We have a connection that's never gonna go away," Bond said. "She saved my life. That's my hero."
Bond says she got a call Oct. 8 from Rudolph at the OneBlood donation center in Lake Park, saying there was an urgent need for platelets and asking her if she could come in to donate.
When Bond came in the next day to donate, Rudolph started by taking Patti's blood pressure.
“Her blood pressure was high, and I was like, 'You know your blood pressure is really high, I think you should get this checked out',” Rudolph said.
“So I basically left here and went right to the emergency room,” Bond said.
ER doctors at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center determined Bond had a heart attack within the past day or two without even knowing it. One of her arteries had a 90 percent blockage and she needed to go into surgery right away.
“They said if I had waited another week, then it would've been too late," she said.
Bond was admitted to the hospital, had the surgery, then went home the next day.
“She would’ve had a major heart attack. She did have a heart attack but it was very small. Oh, she was a lucky woman," said Dr. Augusto Villa, an interventional cardiologist at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center who performed the surgery.
Patti says she is glad Rudolph urged her to see a doctor.
“I don't even know how to thank you. She’s getting me choked up right now, " she said with a smile as she glanced at Rudolph.
After she got out of the hospital, Bond came back to the blood donation center with flowers, balloons and a cake to thank Rudolph, whom she calls her guardian angel.
“She saved my life. I can't say that to anybody else. I can say it to her. I believe that 100 percent. I would not be here if it weren't for her,” she said.
“I'm blessed to see that she's doing well. I care for people. That's my passion. I love helping people so for me, I feel like I've done what I was called to do." Rudolph said.
“We have a special bond that's you know, forever now," Bond said.
Bond says she'll be back here to donate blood and platelets again as soon as she is eligible, about 6 months from now, and to say hello again to her guardian angel, a woman she now calls her new best friend.