Brian Baker, 34, was doing electrical work outside his home with his son-in-law earlier this month when it started to rain. On his way back into the house, he was stung twice by a yellow jacket — once on his wrist and once on his ankle — causing an allergic reaction that proved fatal for the Winchester, N.H. resident.
He was highly allergic to bee stings, said his wife, Mandi Baker, in a telephone interview Sunday evening. She said she was inside the house at the time but immediately grabbed her husband’s EpiPen and called 911 when she heard what happened.
“It took two minutes before things really progressed to the point where I personally started panicking,” she said. “He was on the kitchen floor and I could tell he was definitely struggling.”
Her husband had also started sweating, so Mandi Baker, 41, said she grabbed some cold towels to cool him down.
“I personally believe that he stopped breathing before [the emergency responders] even got here,” she said.
After 45 minutes of CPR and electric shocks, responders got her husband’s heartbeat and pulse back, she said, and stabilized him enough to transfer him to Cheshire Medical Center in Keene, N.H. He was later sent to Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, N.H., for more intensive care, Mandi Baker said.
“I just would like to make sure that the emergency responders are recognized for giving Brian a chance and not giving up on him, and the exceptional one-on-one care he received from the nurses at Catholic Medical Center,” she said.
During the next few days, Baker continued to stabilize, she said, and the doctors seemed hopeful until Tuesday evening.
“It was a combination of things, but basically, his heart stopped beating for 45 minutes, and that’s a long time for your brain to go without oxygen,” she said. “One part of his brain, the part that helped him breathe, was working, but in another part of his brain, there was nothing.”
Nearly five days after her husband had been stung, Mandi Baker and a few other immediate family members decided early Wednesday morning to unhook her husband from the machines, and he died shortly after.
“We never imagined it would be this extreme,” she said. “He’s had reactions before and they just said to give him EpiPens and call 911.”
Mandi and Brian Baker, who worked in construction and carpentry, grew up in Winchester, began dating in 2012, and got married a year later, she said.
“This heartache is indescribable,” she said. “I will say that our time together was short, but it was the best six years of my life.”Elise Takahama can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @elisetakahama.