Archive for June, 2011

Family Saves Father at Home

Posted by cocreator on June 20, 2011
Events / No Comments

Wayne Millen worried for years that he’d die of a sudden heart attack.

Wayne Millen the Survivor & Family

Genetically, his odds weren’t good. His father died of a heart attack at age 66. His mother underwent heart bypass surgery when she was 66. His younger brother, after surviving two heart attacks in two years, died at age 53 of sudden cardiac arrest.

“My brother, Gary, and I were very athletic growing up and we never thought we’d have any problems,” said Millen, 60. “I realized, ‘There but for the grace of God … ‘ you know? That could happen to me.”

So Millen regularly went to the doctor. He submitted to all recommended medical tests and took medication that lowered his cholesterol to ideal levels. He worked to stay fit. And last year he bought an automated external defibrillator.

When Millen bought his, he thought he might be wasting his money — the device would be useless if he went into cardiac arrest while home alone or when he wasn’t home, or he might be fine and not go into cardiac arrest at all — but he looked at the AED as a little extra insurance.

Thinking other people might also be helped by it, Millen and his wife told neighbors they had the AED if anyone in the neighborhood ever needed it. They stashed the device in their upstairs bathroom.

It stayed untouched for a year and a half.

Last Sunday, that insurance paid off.

Millen’s 27-year-old son, who had just arrived for a weeklong family visit, used the AED to save his father’s life.

“It’s extraordinary,” said Alan Langburd, the cardiologist who treated Millen when he arrived at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. “And it’s (almost) Father’s Day.”

On that fateful day, Millen played a few quick games of basketball with his son, Jesse Millen-Johnson, who had just arrived from Utah for a weeklong vacation, and his son’s old college friends. They played for about a half-hour. Millen and his teammate won two out of three.

A forester for the U.S. Forest Service, Millen had said the week before how good he felt, how he was bounding up the steps at the forestry office. But after the basketball game, he felt tired and a little winded. That was easily explained: He hadn’t played basketball in years and he was playing now with guys half his age.

“Boy, I don’t have the energy that I used to have,” he told his wife when he went inside. “I probably shouldn’t be doing that.”

Millen grabbed a couple of baby aspirin. His neck and shoulders hurt, but he’d gotten hit in the neck during the game and he was pretty sure the pain was from that, not a heart attack. Still, the aspirin couldn’t hurt. More insurance, he thought.

He went upstairs to take a shower. He and his wife were going out.

A few minutes later, Johnson heard a thump.

She thought the computer chair in their second bedroom had fallen over. It had happened before.

“Wayne, are you OK?” she called from the other room. “Did the chair fall over?”

The only answer was the sound of labored breathing. She started running.

“I knew immediately,” she said.

Millen’s collapse almost exactly mirrored his younger brother’s.

A nurse at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, Johnson knew what to do in an emergency, but everything seemed to go wrong. She had trouble laying him flat for CPR because he was too heavy for her to move. She couldn’t get the phone to work — the family believes Millen accidentally pulled the cord out of the wall when he fell — which meant no dialing 911.

She went to the window and yelled to her son and his friends, “Emergency!”

In the seconds it took Millen-Johnson to race upstairs, his father stopped breathing. He had no pulse.

“I was like, ‘Is this the way it’s going to end?'” Millen-Johnson said. “We knew this was a possibility, but at the same time you never, ever think it would ever happen to someone you care about.”

Millen-Johnson couldn’t get reception on the cell phone he’d brought from Utah, so one of his friends called 911 on his phone. Johnson started chest compressions. She told her son to get the AED.

With shaking hands, he tore open the bag and placed the pads according to the directions. Although Millen and his wife had just gone over the AED instructions the week before — they’d happened to dust the device as they dusted the rest of the house preparing for company and Johnson took the opportunity to learn more about it — their son hadn’t encountered one since a wilderness leadership course in high school. But the directions were simple and the device spoke commands.

The AED told everyone to clear. The shock to Millen’s heart sent his body 6 inches off the ground, but it worked. He started breathing a little. The machine advised CPR while it analyzed Millen’s heart. Millen-Johnson took over the chest compressions. His mother had done them for a few minutes, but 61 years old and dealing with arthritis, she couldn’t keep it up.

“I would have done everything I could,” she said. “But Jesse’s strength was certainly good.”

A couple of minutes later, Millen stopped breathing again. The AED again told everyone to clear.

The second shock, like the first, got him breathing again.

The AED advised them to continue chest compressions. Millen-Johnson did for the next 10 minutes, fearing the heart under his hands could stop a third time and that any second his father could die again.

Millen had been right that no ambulance could get to his rural home quickly. It took paramedics about 15 minutes to reach Millen, long past the point he could have been revived if his family hadn’t used the AED.

He was on his way to the hospital, alive.

‘Every day now is a gift’

Most people who have heart attacks first notice one of several symptoms, including pain or heaviness in their chests. Millen was one of the five to 10 percent who went straight into cardiac arrest.

“His presenting symptom was sudden death,” said Alan Langburd, the cardiologist who treated Millen when he arrived at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

By the time he reached CMMC, Millen’s heart was back to a normal rhythm. At the hospital, Langburd put in a stent to open the artery and keep it open.

If Millen’s son hadn’t used the AED, Langburd said, “(Millen) probably would have died. And if he had survived, he probably would have had pretty significant neurologic impairment. Often, they just don’t wake up. Or if they do wake up, they’re mentally challenged.”

Millen had none of those problems.

Langburd has been practicing medicine for 27 years. He had never encountered someone who was saved with an AED at home.

“Jesse was a hero,” Langburd said. “(Millen) was alive and doing well by the time we got him. So he’s a hero. Truly a hero. He deserves accolades.”

“It’s extraordinary,” he added. “And it’s (almost) Father’s Day.”

Millen remembers nothing after going to his bedroom to get ready to take a shower. He woke up in the ICU. Doctors and nurses told him it was a miracle he was alive.

Medicated and disoriented, Millen was little confused at first, but at least one thing got through: When his family told him they’d used the AED, he smiled.

“So,” he said, “it worked.”

Millen spent a few days in the hospital. On Friday he was still sore from his son’s chest compressions, but he was able to move around the house. His wife and son stayed nearby. The trauma was still fresh.

“It’s pretty overwhelming,” Millen said. “I see them sometimes looking at me when I’m probably thinking the same thing: They came that close to going through a funeral this week.”

Instead, Millen-Johnson took an extra week off from work and will spend it with his parents.

“Every day now is a gift,” Millen-Johnson said.

They celebrated Millen-Johnson’s 28th birthday Saturday. And on Sunday, a holiday.

“It’ll be a very happy Father’s Day,” Millen said.

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Bystanders & Paramedics Save Woman at Fitness Class

Posted by cocreator on June 20, 2011
Events / No Comments

A woman her late 50s is in a serious but stable condition after collapsing during a fitness class at a Les Mills gym in central Auckland.

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Witnesses say the woman collapsed during a body combat class – a cardiovascular class based on martial arts moves.

There were around 80 people in the class and members had just completed a warm-up track.

A St Johns spokesperson said they received a call around 9.10am and an ambulance arrived at the scene four minutes later. She was taken to Auckland hospital.

Les Mills New Lynn manager Jaci Griffin said the centre has never had an incident like this before but staff “did a fantastic job”.

All staff are trained in CPR she said, including the cleaners. A defibrillator was also on hand.

Griffin said three nurses taking part in the class also chipped in and performed CPR although the woman, who is a long-time member, was “floating in and out”.

Paramedics were quick to respond as they had just left the gym after having a cup of coffee in the cafe.

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Bystanders Save Woman out Hiking

Posted by cocreator on June 20, 2011
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What do you say to the people who saved your life?

Karen McClure the Survivor

Karen McClure kept it simple.

“Thank you so much, both of you,” the 51-year-old Redmond woman said Saturday, as she met the two men who found her unconscious and performed CPR until paramedics arrived.

The reunion took place on a popular walking path in Redmond’s Education Hill area. Locals call it the “Power Line” trail, and it was here on May 19 that Nishant Kumar and his friend Ruchir Astavans spotted McClure facedown.

At first, they thought she had tripped and fallen. But as they got closer, they saw that her glasses were smashed. Her face was ashen and tinged with blue.

“She wasn’t breathing,” Astavans said.

The men called 911.

Neither was trained in CPR — cardiopulmonary resuscitation — but the dispatcher talked them through the process.

“I was a little panicked at first,” Astavans recalled. “But the dispatcher was very firm. She said: ‘This is what you’re going to do.’ ”

The incident shows how easy it is to perform CPR, said paramedic Mike Hilley of the Redmond Fire Department. It also highlights a new approach that calls for rapid chest compressions and dispenses with the mouth-to-mouth breathing.

“It’s hands-only anymore,” Hilley said. “It’s fast and hard — 100 compressions a minute, and don’t stop.”

Astavans said he was surprised at the rapid pace the dispatcher instructed him to maintain. “She had me count it out.”

Meanwhile, Kumar was relaying directions to the site, nearly a half mile up the trail.

“There’s no address for this place,” said Redmond paramedic Skip Boylan, who coordinated the response. He estimated it was at least 10 minutes before the first rescue unit from the Woodinville Fire Department arrived. Redmond units arrived soon after.

Even then, McClure wasn’t out of the woods. Her heart refused to stabilize for nearly an hour, despite being jolted three times with a defibrillator.

“This tells the whole story,” Boylan said, unrolling a 12-foot-long computer tape with all the data paramedics gathered on McClure’s heart rate, blood chemistry and other vital signs as they battled to keep her alive. The first tracings reflect the chaotic beating of a heart out of control.

“It was like a bowl of Jell-O,” Boylan said. “That’s called ventricular fibrillation.”

Kumar and Astavans watched anxiously as a team of six to eight paramedics continued nonstop CPR.

“The amount of effort was impressive,” Kumar said.

When McClure’s heart finally stabilized, she was rushed to Evergreen Hospital.

Heart-attack victims who receive immediate and uninterrupted CPR have more than a 60 percent chance of surviving, Hilley said.

McClure’s doctors told her she suffered a sudden cardiac arrest, but they can’t explain what caused it, she said. “I’ve always been healthy,” she said. “I walk every day.”

She collapsed during one of her after-work walks, though the incident erased all memory of that day.

She’s been eager to meet Kumar and Astavans, both Microsoft employees.

With her husband and two sons at her side, McClure hugged both her benefactors — but gingerly, due to a tender spot on her chest where doctors implanted a pacemaker/defibrillator.

“I don’t want to have to pay this back,” she said. “But I’ll try to pay it forward.”

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Friends Save Teen during Hike in Woods

Posted by cocreator on June 18, 2011
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A Covington teenager suffered a heart attack in the woods last Monday. His friends, using CPR and some quick thinking, saved his life.

Brandon Hopper collapsed near Greenwater on Monday, and after more than 2 hours of CPR, he’s made a miraculous recovery.

Kierstyn Frederick and Austin Bourbonnie say they both learned CPR in school. Never did they think they’d need it to save their friends life.

“Honestly, I think I did what any old friend should do,” says Bourbonnie. “As soon as everything happened, everything that I remember learning started clicking in,” says Frederick. “It was a natural reaction I had to do it.”

19 year old Hopper suffers from a genetic heart condition but had never gone into cardiac arrest before Monday. The three friends were hiking in the woods taking pictures of elk when Hooper fell to the ground. He wasn’t breathing.

“He’s not responding to me he’s not responding to any of us, and I didn’t know what to think. I was freaking out,” says Frederick,

“I’m thinking I might have held my best friend in my arms for the last time,” says Bourbonnie. He started CPR while Frederick went to flag down a car since their cell phones had no reception.

They continued breaths and chest compressions for 25 minutes until paramedics arrived and took over.

“I can’t stop appreciating how many right things happened,” says Brandon’s mom, Michelle Hooper.

His parents say, on the way to Harborview, Hopper got more than 2 hours of CPR and shocked with the defibrillator 8 times.

“They’re always going to be on our Christmas card list, and they’re going to be friends of our family forever,” says Troy Hopper, Brandon’s father, of the two friends.

The Covington teenager isn’t out of the woods yet, but doctors removed his breathing tube today and he’s alert and talking.

“Seeing Brandon in the hospital now, I’m really happy he’s still here,” says Frederick.

She took CPR in high school. Bourbonnie says he flunked it in 7th grade, but between the two of them, they knew enough to save their friend’s life.

Hopper’s parents say doctors tell them the longest documented case where a person has received CPR and made a full recovery was 96 minutes. They’re still checking a few details, but if he makes a full recovery it could be a record.

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Coaches & Nurse Save Teen Lacrosse Player

Posted by cocreator on June 16, 2011
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Rome Free Academy lacrosse coaches Guy Calandra and Jeremy Roberts were running the lacrosse tryouts for about 50 10th-graders at Fayetteville-Manlius High School , including Sophomore Dan Cochran, when the incident happened at about 6:30 p.m. Calandra said he was about five feet away when he saw Cochran take the blow from the shot.

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Cochran turned his body in anticipation of the contact. The lacrosse ball struck him in the rib cage underneath his chest protector. Calandra said Cochran fell face forward to the ground.

“When I got to look at him, I could just tell,” Calandra said. “I said to him, ‘Hey, are you OK? Look at me. What’s your name?’ He couldn’t respond. I yelled for 911 and Jeremy.”

Cochran’s breathing was labored. Roberts was at the opposite end of the field working with other players. The second time Calandra called his name, Roberts said he knew there was a crisis. He sprinted to the other end of the field to begin CPR on Cochran.

Roberts, 36, has worked as a lifeguard since he was 16 and been a certified trainer for the last five years. Calandra is trained in CPR as well. Calandra began a series of 30 compression pumps on Cochran’s chest. Roberts performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

The mother of another player trying out for the 11th-grade team approached the scene. She said she was a registered nurse and asked Calandra if he needed her to take over. She did and performed a series of compression pumps.

Fayetteville-Manlius High School certified trainer Cyndi Kelder rushed to the scene with a defibrillator. Even though this was not a school event, she had been hired to work the tryouts by Tom Hall, the longtime F-M lacrosse patriarch and the founder of the Upstate Risings event.

Kelder said Cochran had no pulse when she hooked him up to the defibrillator. The machine told her what to do next — apply the pads and shock the player. She did. The blast got Cochran’s heart pumping in rhythm again.

“I’ve been doing this awhile now,” said Kelder. “I’ve never had to open up (the defibrillator) other than checking it and for maintenance. It was one of those moments.”

Sirens from local ambulances and fire trucks wailed in the distance. Multiple rescue trucks pulled onto the field. Roberts kept yelling encouragement to Cochran.

“Hang in there, buddy,” he said. “Hang in there.”

Cochran was beginning to respond. Calandra asked him how he felt. He told the coach his arm was sore. It was a sweet response.

The magnitude of their efforts hit hard later in the night. Calandra said he could barely talk, much less feel. Roberts said he hugged his wife, Becky, and broke into tears. The nurse who assisted on the field broke into tears when she saw her son after tryouts. She said it all hit home. That could have been her son, she said.

F-M boys lacrosse coach Chris Kenneally said he was witness to a tragedy at Hobart some 30 years ago when a player died on the field after being struck in the chest by a shot. He vowed that would never happen again and said the school is vigilant and ready with its supply of defibrillators and trainers.

Hall said had this happened at the Empire State Games, there would have been no trainers or defibrillators because of cost cuts.

“We prepare for this type of thing,” Hall said. “I was so impressed with the (RFA) staff and (F-M) trainer. I’ve seen some serious situations over the years. This has to be at the top of the list.”

“Even though we’re all trained, it was nice to have more hands,” Calandra said. “It went well. It could have been horrible.

“I hope I don’t ever have to do it again, I’ll tell you that.”


Jamesville-DeWitt High School sophomore Dan Cochran returned to school on Friday, a day after he was released from University Hospital and two days after he was revived by CPR and a defibrillator. He was taken to University Hospital, but released less than a day later with only a bruise and a hospital bracelet as outward signs of how close he’d come to death.

Dan Cochran the Survivor

“He went to shoot, and I tried to turn to get out of the way. It didn’t really work,” Daniel said. “I think I probably took like two steps. I tried to yell, and then I just fell on my face.”

“It hit him at the perfect timing,” said Danielle Boland, Daniel’s mother. “It had stopped his heart.”

Daniel’s father, Sean Boland, has worked for Rural Metro for 20 years and he’s given CPR on the phone hundreds of times. Now, he saw coaches were performing the procedure on his son. “I saw the fire trucks and ambulance and police go by and I said to myself, boy I hope that’s not Daniel,” he said.

Then, a certified athletic trainer jump-started his heart with an automated external defibrillator.

“It worked to perfection, as it should,” said F-M Athletic Director Rich Roy. “Coaches, these are all high school coaches. They’re trained in first aid and CPR and AED.”

Thursday is Danielle Boland’s birthday. She says she’s very grateful for the gift of life being restored to her son. “They brought him back to us. Because, if it wasn’t for them, he wouldn’t be here,” she said.

“It’s kind of mind boggling. One minute I’m on the verge of death and the next minute I’m being discharged,” Daniel Cochran said.

Daniel says he will undoubtedly return to the lacrosse field. “I love the game, I love it,” he said.

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