Archive for December, 2008

Firefighters & Paramedics Save Woman at Work

Posted by cocreator on December 31, 2008
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We will be reporting on lives saved around the world since our first documented life saved here in Singapore.

Ms. McGowan, age 43, had just arrived at her job at a D’Arcy Street industry on Dec. 4 when she collapsed just inside the building.

“All I remember is walking up the back alley and sitting in the chair,” Ms. McGowan said.

Cobourg Fire Department Captain Chris Brown said his shift — himself, firefighter Bryan Blaind and Sir Sandford Fleming pre-service firefighting co-op student Matt Raithby– received a “standard medical call” reporting a woman had fainted.

Firefighters arrived before paramedics and found Ms. McGowan was not breathing and had no pulse.

For all intents and purposes, this patient was dead,” Capt. Brown said.

“We started CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and we used our defibrillator. Once we shocked, we verified there wasn’t a pulse, so we th CPR.”

Capt. Brown believes Ms. McGowan was shocked at least three times.

“I believe it was around the third shock (that) the patient actually opened her eyes and started to become conscious again,” he said.

“If it wasn’t for their response so quick, and my coworkers, I wouldn’t be here today,” Ms. McGowan said. “It could have been the end.”

Jean and William Livingstone say they can’t thank the emergency responders enough for saving their daughter’s life.

“They are super around here. If it wasn’t for them, she wouldn’t be here,” Mr. Livingstone said. “They don’t get enough thanks. The fire department, the paramedics, the police department — they all don’t get enough thanks.”

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Firefighters Save Professor at Home

Posted by cocreator on December 26, 2008
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We will be reporting on lives saved around the world since our first documented life saved here in Singapore.

Dixie Crichton gets visit by North Highline Fire District Chief Scott LaVielle.

Dixie Crichton gets visit by North Highline Fire District Chief Scott LaVielle

The call came on a Friday morning. Unconscious man, age 58, fell in the kitchen. The dispatcher had trouble hearing over panicked family. 

North Highline Fire District Chief Scott LaVielle jumped in an engine and went with crews to Crichton’s home, less than a block past the South Seattle border.

The former math professor was taking only three short, labored breaths per minute, firefighters said.

His wife was crying. Some of his children went downstairs, afraid of what would happen.

“Basically,” LaVielle said, “he was shutting down.”

“The kitchen was cramped, and it wasn’t the perfect situation, but you don’t think about that,” said firefighter Chris Johnson, who performed CPR that day. “You get tired, then you think, ‘This is somebody’s life.’ ”

Rescuers took turns at CPR until their arms burned.

“I kept thinking to myself that we as a team controlled the future of this family,” LaVielle said.

After an hour and 19 minutes — and the 11th shock to his heart — one of the firefighters walked toward Dixie Crichton’s wife to say he was gone.

Then another yelled: “We’ve got a heart rate!”

“When his heart stopped, we didn’t think he was going to come back,” said Crichton’s 16-year- old daughter, Karen. “I was scared. I didn’t know what to do.”

The heartbeat stayed constant. Firefighters, wearing gear soaked in sweat, saw the family’s fear shift to hope as Crichton was rushed to a hospital.

When Crichton was reunited with the fire chief earlier this month, his face lit up as if he were a kid opening presents, and Crichton wrapped the chief in a hug. Both men fought back tears.

Crichton, still touching the chief’s arm, tried to express in words what he was feeling. Itagia Crichton explained that her husband didn’t speak much English.

He didn’t need to use words, the chief said. The hug said it all.

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Paramedics Save Football Coach

Posted by cocreator on December 26, 2008
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We will be reporting on lives saved around the world since our first documented life saved here in Singapore.

The date Aug. 28, 2008, will remain with Thelen for the rest of his life. It was the opening of high school football, a night which he had been a part of numerous times in his 37-year coaching career.


The Big Reds had traveled to Holt for the season opener. Sexton scored a touchdown late in the first half when Thelen, the Big Reds’ receivers coach, turned toward the bench to congratulate his players.

A wave of dizziness enveloped him. Then, darkness.

For nearly 15 minutes, Thelen, 62, was dead on the sidelines, the result of a heart attack.

Paramedics stationed nearby responded swiftly.

If not for the ambulance, I would be dead,” Thelen said. “They had to use the defibrillator paddles on me twice.”

Stunned Sexton fans, players and coaches watched as medical staff worked frantically to resuscitate him, ripping apart his red “Sexton Football” shirt.

“It was scary, that’s for sure,” Sexton head coach Dan Boggan said. “We’re really happy that he came back. It didn’t look good.”

His wife of four years, Maureen, bolted out of her seat in the stands. She doesn’t remember how she reached her husband’s side.

“I don’t remember anybody’s face around him,” she said. “I don’t even know what I was thinking.”It was pretty devastating and horrifying. He was shaking back and forth. It didn’t feel like 15 minutes.”

Medical staff rushed him to Ingham Regional Medical Center where surgeons inserted a defibrillator. He stayed in intensive care before being released on the following Sunday.

Two days later, Thelen suffered a second heart attack. He spent another two weeks at Sparrow Hospital recuperating.

Incredibly, Thelen was back at Sexton game four weeks after his heart attacks. This time, he watched from the stands alongside his wife.

The Thelens’ home will be filled with gifts, children and grandchildren for the holidays, and no one is more appreciative than Thelen.

“I’m grateful to have the family at home,” he said. “I shouldn’t be here, so it means all the more to me.”

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Teammates Save Man during Basketball Game

Posted by cocreator on December 26, 2008
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We will be reporting on lives saved around the world since our first documented life saved here in Singapore.

A few minutes into a pickup basketball game at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School on Dec. 14, Chris Cannan passed the ball to his teammate Hollis Wilkes. Instead of catching it, Wilkes dropped to the floor, unconscious. 

When Wilkes collapsed, Stephen Taylor and others immediately tried to conduct CPR while others called 9-1-1.

But when they failed to open the airway, Taylor’s mind immediately went to the AED located just outside the gym, near the trophy case.

“I just kind of new where it was, and most facilities now have them,” said Taylor, a Takoma Park resident who had been trained on how to use an AED at an occupational health care company he used to work for. “It was just a matter of finding it.”

Taylor had time to prep the AED and administer one jolt of electricity to an unconscious Wilkes before the paramedics rushed inside and took control of the situation.

“Some people were upset. Some people prayed. There was the gamut of different reactions you’re going to have,” Cannan said.

Without the defibrillator, he would have died,” Taylor said.

By Monday, Wilkes was sitting up in bed and joking with players who came to see him. Taylor said despite nearly dying, Wilkes was eager to resume the game, which has been going on with a core group of players for roughly a decade.

“He wants to keep hooping,” he said.

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4 Nurses Save Grandfather at Basketball Game

Posted by cocreator on December 26, 2008
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We will be reporting on lives saved around the world since our first documented life saved here in Singapore.

Gary Jarvis with wife and grandchildren.

Gary Jarvis with wife and 6 grandchildren

In a pickup basketball game, Gary Jarvis jumped for the rebound. The heart attack seized him mid-air and stopped him. 

Perrin, a labor and delivery nurse at Fairview Ridges in Burnsville, was in the sanctuary, setting up for the Bible study group, which draws about 200 women.

About 6:40 p.m., a man ran into the sanctuary crying out: “We have a man down! We need help!”

On the gym floor of Berean Baptist Church, the 59-year-old Burnsville man lay dying.

The study group’s emergency plan kicked in. Perrin bolted into the gym. She saw men trying to pick up Jarvis’s limp body and told them to set him down and roll him over. The nurse laid her fingers on his neck, searching for the feel of blood rhythmically coursing through the carotid artery.

Nothing. He had no pulse. His eyes stared blankly, and his face was cut.

Deanne Adams, a licensed practical nurse from Farmington, ran up as Perrin knelt at Jarvis’ side. As Perrin dug out an oxygen mask, Adams began compressing.

One man had called 911, and another fetched the church’s automatic external defibrillator. The nurses pulled up Jarvis’ shirt, ready to try to jump-start his heart. But the batteries had been checked so often that they had no juice.

“Resume CPR!” Perrin said.

Two more registered nurses, Shawn Dietz of Elko and Kim Lorence of Apple Valley, ran into the gym. Dietz took over compressions. Perrin kept counting in a fast meter. Adams prayed in Jarvis’ ear.

Minutes later, paramedic Andy Hamlin and three other Burnsville firefighters rushed in.

“This man had everything going for him,” Hamlin said. “First, he had a cardiac arrest in a church; I can’t think of a better place to have one. Secondly, he had those highly skilled nurses who were there.”

The paramedics found Jarvis’ heart fluttering but not pumping. They hooked up their defibrillator and sent a shock across his chest.

Jarvis’ heartbeat resumed. He clenched his jaw. And then, he gasped.

Recently, as the Burnsville City Council honored the nurses for valor, Jarvis thanked them, too:

“At this time of year, we hear a lot about angels,” Jarvis told the women.

“Angels make announcements, angels sing songs of worship and praise, but I now think that angels do CPR. You are my angels of rescue; you are my heroes. I will be forever grateful. And my gratitude will be especially evident to me this Christmas when I see the joy in the faces of my family, in the faces of my grandchildren. I will enjoy another Christmas because you were quick and capable.”

Connie Perrin, a registered nurse from Prior Lake who led the rescue, said she’s elated that the nurses were able to help keep a family intact.

“It was God’s hand that he be there and collapse while we were there, because we knew what to do,” she said.

“I’m a Christian, so I believe this is a miracle that these ladies were there, and God had his hand in it,” Jarvis said. “It could have happened on the way home. It could have happened in the night. But it happened where there was help.”

Two weeks after his near death, Jarvis and wife Jennifer visited the Bible study group. He carried flowers for the nurses, who rushed to him, overjoyed to see him in good health.

“It was just the most beautiful gift from God,” Adams said.

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