Archive for October, 2010

Lifeguards Save Professor in Gym

Posted by cocreator on October 28, 2010
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At 4 p.m. on Sept. 16, Allison, a 22-year-old lifeguard from West Hartford, had just gone off duty and was chatting with fellow lifeguard Carter Hatton when a man hurried out of the Cornerstone fitness room.


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Town resident Russell Sirman had been doing sit-ups when he heard a thud behind him, by the treadmills. It didn’t register at first — then came “an odd sound, like someone snoring away,” recalled Sirman, 46, a teacher at Classical Magnet School in Hartford.

“Sir, are you all right?” he asked Leach. Within moments of the initial thud, Sirman ran to the lifeguards standing near one of the center’s pools.

The Saviour Lifeguards

“It only takes a half-second between seeing him coming and knowing whether it’s going to be a serious problem,” Allison said.

The night before, Allison had grumbled to pals about his “uneventful” life. He graduated from the University of Connecticut a few months ago as a history major, and didn’t think he’d be back at Cornerstone, a town-owned swimming center operated by the company Aquatics for Life. In his six years as a part-time lifeguard, Allison told his friends, “I’ve never even had to pull someone out of the water.”

But now Allison and Hatton, 19, were beside the unconscious man, a West Hartford resident and Cornerstone regular who had been running the treadmills three times a week for the past seven years to strengthen his heart.

Somehow, Leach became lodged between an elliptical machine and a treadmill after his collapse.

“That was a bit of a curveball,” said Hatton, of Farmington, who had only been on the job for several months.

Hatton radioed for the front desk to call 911. Not long afterward, Dan Stowe walked past the desk on his way to give private lessons at one of the pools. Stowe, a 28-year-old veteran lifeguard from South Windsor, ran to the fitness room. Allison, Hatton and Sirman had already pushed the exercise machines apart and pulled Leach to the center of the room.

As the younger lifeguards checked for vital signs, Stowe ran to get the automatic defibrillator stationed about 40 feet away.

Allison and Hatton were initially wary of moving Leach in case he had a spinal injury from the fall. But his face was turning a deeper blue, and his hoarse breathing sounded as though it would cease in a matter of seconds.

The two began a round of CPR — Hatton gave roughly 30 chest compressions and Allison attempted to give two rescue breaths — as Stowe returned with the defibrillator less than two minutes after Leach’s collapse. To prepare for the defibrillator, Hatton cut open Leach’s shirt.

That’s when they saw the long scar down Leach’s sternum. The college professor had undergone major heart bypass surgery 10 years ago.

His rescuers now presumed he had experienced either a heart attack — when one or more of the arteries is blocked — or cardiac arrest, a different event in which the heart abruptly stops beating and blood pressure drops to nothing, halting blood circulation and oxygen to the brain and other organs. Ventricular fibrillation, when a heart rhythm suddenly becomes uneven and chaotic, typically causes cardiac arrest.

Those with a history of coronary disease are more likely to be stricken.

“I had very, very little expectation of him surviving this,” Allison said.

Stowe has been a lifeguard for 10 years, but never had to resuscitate a victim until Sept. 16.

The AED instructed him to administer the electric current. “I hit the button,” Stowe said; Leach’s body appeared to jolt. “After the shock, you could actually see color going back to his face.

“This individual, Eugene, was definitely a fighter, because he was struggling,” Stowe said, “and he kept struggling.”

The electric current reorganized Leach’s heart rhythm enough to keep him faintly breathing. Hatton continued chest compressions as Allison and Stowe attempted to give rescue breaths.

“Four minutes, three seconds after the call came in, we were on scene and paramedics were behind us,” Allyn said.

The emergency medical technicians took over and injected Leach with heart stimulants, intubated him to open his airway, and shocked him four times with their own defibrillator before rushing him to the University of Connecticut’s John Dempsey Hospital.

The morning Leach was eased back into consciousness, he began reading The New York Times.

Six days after the collapse, Leach was released from the hospital with full neurological recovery and an internal defibrillator installed in his chest.

Leach remembered running on the Cornerstone treadmill, engrossed in an audio book of Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” streaming through his earbuds.

“A really beautiful reading of a great novel, and I was having a great time,” Leach said from his West Hartford home. “Then I fell over like a tree.”

The professor is taking it easy now. The five days after the cardiac arrest are lost somewhere in his memory, but he is gaining strength and has shed at least a dozen pounds.

He goes for walks with his Labrador retriever, Melanie, in their Beverly Road neighborhood. Although on medical leave from Trinity, he has resumed his detailed, written critiques of master’s theses, and has returned to his own book project on Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and the American dream.

About a week ago, Leach and his wife, Kathy Frederick, met Allison, Hatton and Stowe in the Cornerstone lobby and gave each an iPod Nano, colored red for the heart, as a small token of their thanks.

“No band, no banner,” Leach said. “They didn’t make speeches. They assured us that they did what they were trained to do.”

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Cops Save Man at Home

Posted by cocreator on October 28, 2010
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John Terhune of Roselle Park was helping family members with a construction project at 6 Davis St. when he became ill. Terhune was painting on the landing of a second-floor stairway when he collapsed. Terhune was not breathing and family members were unable to find a pulse.

Somebody called 9-1-1 and Readington police received the call for assistance at 1:13 p.m. Within a minute of the call for help, Sgt. William du Fosse and Patrolman Robert Medvetz arrived at the house. They were joined shortly thereafter by Cpl. Carlos Ferreiro.

Medvetz and du Fosse immediately began CPR. Medvetz started chest compressions while du Fosse gave the patient oxygen. Ferreiro set up the AED and applied the pads to the patient.

The AED advised the officers to shock the patient. Ferreiro completed the shock and officers resumed CPR. Officer du Fosse took over chest compressions while Ferreiro ventilated. A second shock was called for and given. After a third round of compressions, the patient began to gasp for air and the officers noticed his eyes beginning to roll in his head.

At this point, members of the Whitehouse Rescue Squad were on scene and took over care of the patient. Patrolman Joseph Hartmann arrived and the four officers helped to remove the patient from his precarious location on the unfinished stairwell landing. The patient was then transported to the Hunterdon Medical Center.

The following day, a friend of the family stopped by police headquarters to thank the police for their life saving effort. The friend said that Terhune was in stable condition at the hospital and the officers were directly responsible for saving his life. He further related that he was impressed by the response of the Readington Police and their proficiency in CPR and use of the AED.

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Shopping Center Staff & Nurse Save Elderly Man

Posted by cocreator on October 27, 2010
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The importance of defibrillators in public places was highlighted when a man’s heart was restarted after he collapsed in Haverfordwest last Friday – the first time the town centre’s machine has been used.


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An 80-year-old man suffered a suspected heart attack and stopped breathing outside the Cwm Deri Vineyard shop but thanks to Riverside Shopping Centre worker Mike Davies’ first aid training – and a well placed defibrillator – he made it to hospital alive.

Haverfordwest has a defibrillator, located at Wimpey, provided by the Welsh Assembly, in conjunction with Health Commission Wales and the Welsh Ambulance Service in 2006.

Mike, along with other shop workers were trained in the use of the electric shock machines, often vital to restarting someone’s heart, by the Welsh Ambulance Service.

Time is of the essence for heart attack victims.

Early treatment, like that provided by Mike, who was helped by a retired nurse who was nearby, can mean the difference between life and death.

Mike said the retired nurse began CPR in the vital first minutes while he ran for the defibrillator, which gives you step-by-step instructions and logs vital data which can be used by ambulance and hospital staff.

“Hopefully it will be the last time I’ll use it,” said Mike, who went back to work as usual after the incident.

“It was a case of just do it. It was surreal, yes, but it had to be done. It did take a bit of time to sink in. I put the machine on and let the machine do it. The adrenaline was pumping and you do what you can.”

Riverside Shopping Centre manager Roland Keevil praised Mike’s quick thinking.

“We are very proud of him and delighted that he was able to offer his assistance.”

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Cyclist Saved by Golf Club Staff Staff

Posted by cocreator on October 27, 2010
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Brian Morgan is certain that without a defibrillator he would not be here today.


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Yesterday it was reported how Mr Morgan suffered a heart attack on the side of the Waiohiki Rd during his usual 100km weekend cycle.

He was lucky motorists saw him collapse and performed CPR. He was even more fortunate that the nearby Napier Golf Club stored an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and the club’s men’s captain Russell Burns knew it was there.

Brian Morgan the Survivor

Defibrillators, in Mr Burns’ words, were “idiot-proof” and designed to be used by lay persons in case of emergency. Mr Burns had never used the machine before but was familiar with one through his work as an electrician.

Mr Burns said Mr Morgan was “in pretty bad shape” when he arrived. But two zaps with the life-saving device was enough to get Mr Morgan’s heart pumping again, effectively saving his life.

The incident highlighted the value of storing defibrillators in isolated areas and populated public spaces like supermarkets, office blocks, sports stadiums and airports.

The next step was raising awareness so that people knew where to find a defibrillator in an emergency.

Without defibrillation, the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest decreased chances by 10 per cent. Minutes, quite literally, meant life.

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Cop & Competitors Save Runner during Race

Posted by cocreator on October 18, 2010
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Good Samaritans came to the rescue in Fishers Park when a man running on an off-road trail suffered cardiac arrest this morning.

Brendan Byrne, 49, of Brighton was in the final leg of the annual Black Diamond Duathlon, which consists of a two-mile run, followed by a 10-mile bicycle course and a second two-mile run, when he was found unresponsive on the trail, according to the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office.

Fellow race participants began to administer CPR and rescue breathing to him. An Ontario County Sheriff’s deputy who was directing traffic for the race administered one shock with a defibrillator before emergency medical crews arrived and brought Byrne out of cardiac arrest.

Officials said Byrne was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital, where he was listed in guarded condition tonight, a hospital spokeswoman said.

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