Archive for December, 2010

Dentist & Physician Assistant Saves Man in Gym

Posted by cocreator on December 31, 2010
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Ken McCauley knows he is lucky to be alive. And his doctors agree.


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“I’m just blessed and thankful to be here,” McCauley said.

Ken McCauley the Survivor

On Dec. 3, McCauley, 53, went into sudden cardiac arrest.

He was at a spin-cycling class at the Salem YMCA. “I was feeling pretty good,” he said this week reflecting back on that day.

It was the 5:30 a.m. class that McCauley — who works in the finance department at LewisGale Medical Center — had been attending every Wednesday and Friday since the beginning of the year. An avid runner since his doctor recommended exercise at age 48, McCauley began taking the class after his knees started bothering him. He still ran four days a week, and completed the Star City Half Marathon in November.

The class, which had about 10 participants, was on its third push as they peddled up an imaginary hill with the tension high on their stationary bikes. That’s when McCauley blacked out, falling off his bike and hitting the back of his head.

“I just remember a feeling of white. I felt everything blur into white and I remember reaching down to adjust the tension back on my bike,” he said.

After that, McCauley knows only what he has been told happened.

Laura Hart, a physician assistant who happened to be riding on the bike next to McCauley, checked for a pulse. She didn’t detect one.

The instructor ran for the facility’s Automated External Defibrillator. Then Hart and another class participant, Dr. Nathan Stephens, followed the instructions for using the defibrillator.

“The AED said to shock,” recalled Stephens, a Salem dentist. “We cleared him and administered the shock, and he immediately came to. He came off of the floor a little bit and said, ‘What’ — that was it. We got a pulse immediately from him.”

McCauley said he strongly believes that, without the AED, he would have died. Evidence supports that theory. While people who go into cardiac arrest do survive with basic CPR chest compressions, research has shown that the survival rate doubles if an AED is used properly, said Dr. David Sane, chief of cardiology at Carilion Clinic.

Sane did not treat McCauley but said the use of an AED is “clearly associated with improved outcomes.”

In McCauley’s case, the AED “most likely saved his life,” said Dr. Richard Konstance, a cardiologist at Heart of Virginia Cardiology medical practice on Electric Road and the physician who treated McCauley at LewisGale.

McCauley said he hopes that by sharing his story he will bring awareness to the benefit of AEDs and recognition to those who acted to save his life.

“I know how fortunate I was to be where I was and the fact that the Y has that equipment in place,” McCauley said. “I could have easily been out for a run on the street. That’s where I am a lot of mornings.”

He, too, thinks that AEDs should be in more places.

McCauley was hospitalized for six days. He had a pacemaker and defibrillator installed to protect his heart against future malfunctions. And he is already back at the Salem YMCA, although he isn’t exercising at the same threshold. On Christmas Eve, he stopped by the Friday morning spin class with candy canes. He received hugs and well wishes in return.

“We felt like it was our Christmas miracle to see Ken gone and come back. It was a real blessing,” said Stephens.

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Nursing Student & Firefighter Save Woman in Restaurant

Posted by cocreator on December 28, 2010
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Jenelle Splinter saved the life of Charlotte Chudej thanks to quick thinking and an available Automated External Defibrillator.


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“I kept telling her come on Char, you can do this you can do this you know and hoping that maybe she can hear me.”

Splinter never thought she would have to use the AED at the Plover VFW bar and restaurant. When she started working at the bar, she asked why there was no AED on site. As a nursing student, she knew how important they can be in life-threatening situations.

“Every building should have an AED,” she said.

After doing some research, Splinter got one donated by the local authorities. Little did she know it would mean the difference between life and death for one VFW regular.

Char Chudej suffered a heart attack during the VFW’s annual Christmas party in December. Splinter was working that night, and jumped to action when Chudej lost consciousness. With the help of several others in the restaurant, including a volunteer firefighter, Splinter gave Chudej CPR.

Using the AED on site, Splinter was able to follow directions and give Chudej the correct care.

Stevens Point Firefighter Jb Moody said that’s exactly why AEDs are important life-saving tools.

“They are very easy to use. Somebody with no medical knowledge still can use them.”

Chudej survived, and Splinter couldn’t be happier.

Although AED’s cost around 1,000 dollars, Splinter says that’s a small price to pay to potentially save someone’s life. “Totally worth the money for a life, even if it’s just one life,” she said.

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Nurse, Personal Trainer & Bystanders Save Man in Gym

Posted by cocreator on December 28, 2010
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All Steve Holland, 68, of Long Grove, remembers about Nov. 1 is that he stepped onto a treadmill at Midtown Athletic Club in Palatine, plugged in his head phones … and woke up at the hospital.


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To fill in the hours-long gap, he suffered a cardiac arrest, stopped breathing after he was collapsed while exercising, and was brought back to life by one friend and two strangers, who now are being honored for their quick thinking.

“I’m very thankful to be alive, but that’s about it …,” said Holland, not one for the limelight.

His friend, Linda Kleiss, a nurse practitioner, was working out nearby and saw him fall.

“It’s just one of those stories that we all can learn from,” Kleiss said. And they have — several witnesses have since become CPR-certified and learned how to use a defibrillator, she said.

“I was honored to be able to help out and it was a fantastic outcome and that’s rare,” she said. “No, hero. I had lots of help. It was a team effort.”

Holland ran a mile on the track that Monday morning before getting on the treadmill at about 6 a.m.

“I remember that morning perfectly well up until the incident,” he said. “I was perfectly fine and I was just getting on the treadmill to watch TV for a while.”

Tim Kirby, of Long Grove, a regular at the club, was on a nearby machine watching ESPN when out of the corner of his eye he saw Holland, a stranger to him, “fling off a treadmill.” He yelled out “does anyone know CPR” and “call 911” and ran over to Holland. He breathed into his mouth while Kleiss did chest compressions.

“His eyes were fixed and dilated,” Kirby said. “I have never seen anything like it before in my life. He had no pulse and no heart rate.”

Within moments, fitness director Neil Wywialowski, who was teaching a kinesis class when he heard his name being called out, ran over with an Automated External Defibrillator. He attached the paddle-like censors to Holland’s chest, which instantly registered that he needed “immediate shock now.”

Wywialowski triggered the charges and after what seemed like forever to those around Holland, he began breathing.

“Neil showed up and pushed the button to administer the shock,” Kirby said. “It was like his body was reviving. We saw on the defibrillator he had a heart rate. That was very, very exciting to us.”

Kirby, a vice president of a software company and father of five, said he had trained in CPR while a youth basketball coach, but had never had to use it.

“You never want to see that happen,” Kirby said. “It is a miracle he came back to life.”

The Palatine Fire Department acknowledges the trio’s actions as exactly what is taught by the American Heart Association and is why Holland is still alive, said Paul Wallace, division chief.

“Good quality CPR and early defibrillation is the one proven treatment for cardiac arrest,” said Wallace.

Wywialowski, who has worked at the club for 17 years and said the defibrillator has saved eight lives in that time, said the accolade is “really unnecessary” and that “we are fortunate it was a positive outcome.”

“I don’t feel that I was hero. It is something that anybody else would have done in my situation,” he said. “There were a lot of things that went right here.”

About two weeks later, Holland had a heart valve replacement and bypass surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He’s now back at the health club. While he shuns the attention, he said he hopes what happened leads to more awareness of the need for people to learn CPR and for more businesses to own and train employees in using defibrillators.

“If some good could come of this … it’s just an issue there where people were prepared and the club was prepared and things turned out well,” he said. “If they hadn’t been trained and prepared, things may have turned out very differently.”

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School Staff Saves Teen during Class

Posted by cocreator on December 28, 2010
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Life to Kenny Tillman-Myrie on Oct. 29 was looking up. When Kenny walked into Scott Cantara’s classroom for a free period, he was laughing and joking with his best friend, Shaquille Green. They talked about Halloween, coming up on Sunday, and, of course, about basketball.


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The next thing he remembers is waking up blurry eyed the next day in Westchester Medical Center with his aunt and girlfriend looking down at him, he says.

Kenny Tillman-Myrie (left) the Survivor

His life had changed forever in little more than an instant. “I thought it was a dream,” he said.

“(Kenny) just fell back in his chair,” said Shaquille about that day in October. “At first we thought he was joking or just laughing too hard.” He wasn’t.

Kenny’s heart seized up and it wasn’t pumping blood to his vital organs. He was most likely in this condition for half a minute. Seconds longer and the result might have been brain damage or death.

After Kenny hit the floor, school staff acted swiftly, according to an internal timeline provided by the school. Nurses Wendy Manis, Linda Blosser and Shelley Burr were called to the classroom. Security monitor James “Duke” Kimble ran to get the automatic defibrillator.

Manis listened to Kenny’s breathing. Something was very wrong. The high school’s security team members — Sam Barone, Nelson Reed, classroom teacher William Donohue and School Resource Officer Kevin Weymer — arrived to assist.

They put the paddles of the defibrillator on Kenny. The machine assessed his heart rhythm. He needed a shock. Blosser pushed the button. Manis performed chess compression while Donohue provided breathing for three cycles of CPR. The EMTs arrived and took Kenny to the Horton campus of Orange Regional Medical Center before he was flown to Westchester.

News spread throughout the school. “I couldn’t believe it,” said Laura Brissing, Kenny’s guidance counselor. Healthy 17-year-old athletes don’t go into cardiac arrest. Do they?

As far as Loraine Myrie is concerned, Kenny’s being alive today is nothing short of a miracle.

The school was tremendously supportive, she said. Assistant Principal Carl Pabon drove Myrie to Westchester Medical Center after the incident.

Clinically, Kenny didn’t die. “Death is not a reversible diagnosis,” said Dr. Mathew Pinto, a pediatric cardiac specialist who treated Kenny when he arrived at Westchester.

But he beat the odds. An adolescent going into cardiac arrests outside of a hospital has a 9 percent chance of surviving, says Pinto. Inside the hospital the chances of survival increase to just 27 percent.

Kenny not only survived, but also suffered no brain damage. This wouldn’t have been the case if the school staff hadn’t responded so quickly, Pinto said.

Kenny can’t play competitive basketball again. He can shoot a few hoops. But he can’t play to win.

The doctors still can’t tell him what’s wrong but they opened Kenny’s chest at Westchester to install an internal defibrillator.

Pinto says the most likely answer is genetic but it will take some time until testing can prove this conclusively. It’s likely Kenny has some type of cardiac dysrhythmia, also known as arrhythmia, meaning the electric activity of his heart is abnormal.

That’s what the internal defibrillator is for; to shock the heart back into a regular beat. But it’s too risky to play competitive sports when wires are attached to your heart, Pinto said. Goodbye, basketball.

Sam Barone, a past fire chief in Middletown, has used a defibrillator before, but never on somebody so young, he said.

Barone, like many of the people who responded to Kenny’s emergency, had the necessary training. The American Red Cross is currently looking at awarding medals to the people involved with the incident who received their CPR training with the Red Cross, according to Ken Eastwood, school superintendent.

“It’s all worth it when you see Kenny walking around,” Barone said.

On Dec. 14 Kenny turned 18. It’s taken him some time to digest everything that happened since Oct. 29.

Shortly before his birthday he was sitting in the guidance office at school with Pabon, Brissing and a newspaper reporter. Kenny says he was brought to tears over not being able to play basketball anymore. He says this quickly, as if pulling off a bandage rapidly so it won’t hurt.

“There’s a purpose for this young man beyond basketball,” said Pabon with complete confidence. “This (incident) proves it.”

Kenny steals a look at Pabon, and then looks back at the floor. Then he looks back up, and there it is: Kenny’s winning smile, impossible to resist.

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Firefighter Saves Footballer during Game

Posted by cocreator on December 27, 2010
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It was a regular Monday evening for the 30-year-old teacher. A Junior C footballer with the club, he was 30 minutes into the five-a-side session when he collapsed, hit the floor and banged his head.


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Seaghan went into cardiac arrest and his heart stopped working properly.

Seaghan Kearney the Survivor

The experts say there is a four-minute window for revival from the time a person collapses in this way. Luckily, those around him were quick to react. They called Terry O’Brien, another member who was doing a volunteer stint behind the bar at the time.

Terry is a fireman, so he was able to take control of the situation. He put Kearney in the recovery position and got to work. Initially they thought he had swallowed his tongue, but as his pulse started to fade it became apparent that it was much more serious.

O’Brien sent another teammate to fetch the defibrillator, urgently. When Tyrone footballer Cormac McAnallen passed away in 2004, local pharmacist David King generously donated the device, but the club had failed to service it since and the batteries were out of date. By pure good fortune, there was enough power left for two blasts, just enough to revive Kearney and to keep him alive until the ambulance arrived.

“I was lucky that there was enough energy in it to revive me because clinically I was dead. In a way I was in the right place at the right time. A lot of events conspired to save me,” revealed Seaghan

“The fact that it happened in a club where there was a defibrillator; the fact that Terry was there and he is a fireman and also there was just enough power in the defibrillator to save me, it was just pure luck.”

When Kearney made it to the hospital, he was admitted to intensive care. The doctors were worried about brain damage because of a lack of oxygen but the only side-effect Kearney suffered was short-term memory loss.

“My memory was a bit dodgy for a while, they said that it could have taken two years to come back but it started to right itself quickly. I just kept asking people did Ireland really draw with Slovakia.”

When he regained some strength, the doctors inserted an ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator) under his arm. It’s an internal defibrillator so if it ever happens again it will fire and kick-start his heart.

Kearney, named Plunketts’ Junior C player of the year at the club’s recent dinner dance, was in hospital for two and a half weeks, and his recovery was helped by the support he received from his friends, family and members of the GAA community.

“I couldn’t believe the number of cards and texts I received from people. It was overwhelming. Clubmates, including Alan and Bernard Brogan, were among those who came to visit me in hospital. It all helped.

“Even still I meet a lot of people when I’m out walking who ask how I am. They are all interested in how I’m doing and it’s out of genuine concern. I’m a good news story for people and it makes a change from everything else that’s going on in their worlds.”

As a result of what happened, Kearney had to give up competitive sport — he can exercise but has to stay within certain parameters. There is a less than four per cent chance of it happening again but he has to be sensible about things. The odds are in his favour but if anything does happen he has a back-up plan with the ICD.

Not long after Kearney was discharged from hospital, he went to see Bridget McAnallen, Cormac’s mother. He thanked her for the efforts that her family made in raising awareness of Sudden Cardiac Death; what they did helped save his life.

“A lot of clubs have defibrillators; they got them after Cormac passed away. I know of other clubs close to us that have them locked away in offices and safes. It’s not much benefit keeping them some place where no one can get at them.”

While recovering Kearney decided to do some work in raising awareness of Sudden Cardiac Death. He is part of a team who have come up with a campaign centred on the acronym ‘ACT’. ‘A’ is to ensure that the defibrillator is accessible, ‘C’ is to make sure it is charged and ‘T’ is so that people are trained how to use it.

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