State News

Doctor: N.C. Rep. Carney suffered cardiac arrest

Posted April 2, 2009 4:37 p.m. EDT
Updated April 3, 2009 12:51 p.m. EDT

— State Rep. Becky Carney, 64, went into cardiac arrest and collapsed in her office Thursday while talking on the phone, but she was conscious when emergency workers took her from the building on a stretcher, a fellow lawmaker said.

Police and emergency personnel rushed to Carney's first floor office at the Legislative Building in Raleigh around 4 p.m.

Emergency crews took her to WakeMed in Raleigh. By early Friday afternoon, her condition had improved to fair.

Rep. Bob England, a medical doctor, said Carney was "totally unconscious" and had no pulse when he arrived.

"She was in apparent full arrest when I got there," England said.

Carney was revived after England and a General Assembly police officer started CPR and the building's defibrillator was used on her heart, England said.

Her eyes were open as emergency workers took her from her office. Legislative assistants, lobbyists and fellow House members watched and wiped away tears after she was taken away.

Carney is a four-term Democratic House member who previously served as a Mecklenburg County commissioner. She had been on the phone with Rep. Verla Insko of Orange County when she collapsed.

"She started breathing and not talking and I said, 'Are you alright?,' and she did not respond to me at all," Insko said.

The defibrillator, which provides an electric current to stop heart arrhythmia, was installed at the Legislative Building several years ago.

"It's a wonderful thing about having it here," said England, D-Rutherford. "All public places should have that kind of equipment."

The American Heart Association offers CPR and AED training through its network of Training Centers. To locate a training center near you, call 1-877-AHA-4CPR, or visit the Web site.