On June 10, while visiting friends in Goshen, New Hampton resident Dean Ouderkirk suffered a heart attack.
Dean Ouderkirk the Survivor
He was returning home from a reception for Occupations’ president and CEO. But before hopping on Route 17, he decided to say hello to his good friend, Joe Bayno, who resides on Fletcher Street in Goshen.
Bayno says Ouderkirk would often stop in for a cranberry juice and club soda after running afternoon errands in Goshen — but it was highly unusual for him to do so in the evening.
“We went out to the patio. He sat down — and went straight backward,” Bayno says. “His eyes were staring up at the sky. He was not breathing.”
Bayno immediately reached for his cell phone, which is always with him — he doesn’t have a land line — and didn’t lose a second dialing 911. He was instructed to put one hand under Ouderkirk’s head to prevent it from slamming into the concrete floor as he began forceful chest compressions with the other.
“I was banging his chest with a flat hand as hard as I could,” says Bayno. “I must have done it at least 50 times.”
Officer Christopher Smoulcey of the Village of Goshen Police Department was behind the track at the Harness Racing Museum — less than a minute away — when the medical call came through. Officer James M. Malgieri was on Greenwich Street.
“I had the defibrillator with me in the front seat,” says Smoulcey, who grabbed it as he left his car and ran to Bayno’s front door. There was no response, so he went to the screen door on the side house, where he was able to see Bayno kneeling over Ouderkirk. Malgieri arrived shortly thereafter.
Smoulcey unzipped the AED (automated external defibrillator), donated by Marie Durland on behalf of the Pennings Family in 2002. He then opened the packet with the adult defibrillator pads and electrodes. He affixed one to the lower left abdomen area and the other to the upper right shoulder.
“Mr. Ouderkirk was not breathing. There was no pulse. He was blue in the face and had a glassy stare,” says Malgieri. “Joe Bayno did a good job by listening to the instructions he was given when he called 911.”
Smoulcey continued connecting Ouderkirk to the AED. “It analyzes the heart rhythms, and if it detects a shockable rhythm, it directs that you hit the button to administer the shock,” says Smoulcey.
Ouderkirk was shocked twice.
“I did CRP and rescue breaths for a good 10 minutes,” says Malgieri. “There was a gasp, but no pulse, and he was still not breathing.”
Within a few minutes, a paramedic from Mobile Life arrived, soon followed by the ambulance.
“The two cops and I watched as they worked on him,” says Bayno. “They continued with chest compressions.”
And Ouderkirk was shocked twice more.
After a good half-hour, says Smoulcey, Ouderkirk was lifted onto a stretcher, placed into the ambulance and rushed to the emergency room at Orange Regional Medical Center’s Middletown campus.
The defibrillator that was used to save Oudrkirk’s life was donated to the department by the Pennings family, in memory of their brother, Richard Pennings. During Richard’s illness, many friends and relatives donated to a medical fund in his name. After the loss of Richard, the family, Dr. Nick Pennings, Dr. Anthony Pennings, Margaret Hawkins and Marie Durland, donated the defibrillator to the department using those funds.
Ouderkirk and his fiancée, Carole Syverson, came to the Village of Goshen Police Department on Aug. 13 to meet and express their thanks to people who had a part in saving his life.
Dean and Carol’s celebration of life will culminate this April, when they will be married.
“Carol and I are looking forward to our wedding in April. It will be a celebration of life,” he says.
“There’s clearly something left for him to do in this world — besides marry me,” says Syverson. “Maybe part of it is to let people know what wonderful care is available in Orange County.”
The members of the Village Of Goshen Police Department congratulate them and wish them many years of health and happiness together.