Archive for February, 2012

Friends Save Hockey Goalie at Rink

Posted by cocreator on February 29, 2012
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Zach Young was 21 years old in January when he got a phone call inviting him to play hockey — a call that probably saved his life.


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Zach was home on Long Island with his dad when a friend invited him to the rink in nearby Bethpage. Once he got there, Zach’s heart stopped suddenly and without warning.

Long Island Man Survives Cardiac Scare: MyFoxNY.com

“I was sitting on one of the bleachers right out side the rink and apparently I started to feel really hot and I just went down.”

Zach collapsed just before 11 p.m. that night. His quick-thinking friends grabbed an automatic external defibrillator, attached the pads on Zach’s chest, and pressed the button. Doctors said he would have died without it.

“I turned the AED on, it advised a shock,” said Rich Holscher, Zach’s friend. “I shocked him once. Chris started CPR.”

Zach was in the right place at the right time: at the Sportime hockey rink with his friends and a trained staff.

His family said had Zach not gotten the call to go play he would have stayed home that night, gone to bed, and never woken up.

“The fact that they needed a goalie and they called me is essentially one of the only reasons why I’m still here,” he said.

“We did what we had to do,” said Chris O’Connor. “I’m a police officer, Richie’s a nursing student. This is unfortunately some of the stuff we have to train for.”

Zach was rushed from the rink to the hospital where he was shocked 10 more times. He was put into a medically induced coma for a week before he woke up. It turns out he has a genetic condition that was never diagnosed. He is expected to make a full recovery.

His parents are thrilled.

“Our lives have changed,” said Audrey Young, Zach’s mother. “We are happy. He’s healthy, getting better everyday.”

Zach now has a defibrillator to shock his heart if it stops. He said it is a small price to pay for a new life.

“I was given another chance and I intend to do everything with it,” he said.

He is going to start by heading back to Binghamton University in the fall.

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Staff Save Teen in School

Posted by cocreator on February 22, 2012
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Four Oldham County High School staff members have been recognized for saving a student’s life with an automatic external defibrillator.


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On Feb. 14, Cole Gibson, 16, was in journalism class when he went into cardiac arrest. Several staff members stepped in, and through CPR and four jolts from an automatic external defibrillator, Gibson’s heart started beating again, Capt. David Price, a paramedic with Oldham County EMS, told Oldham Fiscal Court members Tuesday.

Cole Gibson the Survivor

Cole was taken to the hospital and subsequently diagnosed with an irregular heart rhythm, and he underwent surgery to have a defibrillator implanted, said his mother, Jean Smith. He is now at home recuperating.

“It doesn’t just happen to the other guy,” she said at the Fiscal Court meeting. “And when it does happen to you or touches you … it’s nice to know there are people like this who have their act together.

“God definitely was conducting a choir of angels that day,” she added.

Rich Graviss, associate principal; Sherry Stone, the campus nurse; Joan Thompson, Cole’s teacher; and Stan Torzewski, the assistant principal; were given certificates at the meeting, lauding their actions.

The first few moments after a heart stops beating are critical, and most people do not survive such an incident, Price said.

“Because of swift actions … we have one student who became one of those lucky few,” he said.

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Cops Save Mailman on the Job

Posted by cocreator on February 22, 2012
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A 60-year-old mailman is recovering at Morristown Medical Center after he suffered a heart attack and police officers resuscitated him on Miller Road.

Just before noon on Thursday, Feb. 16 officers responded to a call about a possible fatal crash and found Angel L. Gonzalez of Dover in his mail truck approximately 20 feet off the roadway.

“From the evidence we’re gathering it seems Mr. Gonzalez was delivering mail when he had a heart attack in his truck. We think he tried to drive forward onto a busier street to flag someone down for help,” Harding police chief Kevin Gaffney said. “He then became unconscious and went off the road and into the woods.”

Officers David Achenbach, Erik Heller and Sgt. Mark Giansanti found Gonzalez unresponsive, not breathing and without a pulse. They performed CPR, shocked him three times with a portable defibrillator machine, and resuscitated him.

Gaffney says the defibrillator machines, which were purchased by the New Vernon first aid squad several years ago, are components of every police car. “We’re really happy with the equipment and they’ve come in handy several times,” he said. “It’s a win-win for us because it does not cost the town anything and the first aid squad maintains them weekly.”

The decision to install them in police cars was a no-brainer, Gaffney says. “Our average response time is two-and-a-half to three minutes so we are able to start whatever life-saving procedure is needed until the volunteers from the first aid squad arrive.”

Gonzalez, a mailman for 30 years, was transported to the Intensive Care Unit at Morristown Medical Center where he regained consciousness. Gaffney says as of Monday afternoon he was still being treated there.

“We checked up on (Mr. Gonzalez) all weekend and the doctor told us he was up and talking to people,” Gaffney said. “That means he’s making really good progress.” Gonzalez will undergo surgery to receive a pacemaker or internal defibrillator, Gaffney added.

Gonzalez is well-liked in the community and is passionate about his work, the police report says. For three decades he has delivered mail from the Green Village Post Office to the rural roads of the township.

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Colleagues Save Worker on Valentine’s Day

Posted by cocreator on February 20, 2012
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The Valentine’s workday for Machacek, a general mechanic at Alcoa, was no different from any day in the past 15 years of his career.

Mike Machacek the Survivor

He was on a break and began to feel heart burn. One of his good friends, Brian Baros, was with him to make sure he was OK.

Machacek was not too worried, but something did not feel right. Then his head fell back and his heart went into lethal heart arrhythmia, or a deadly heart rhythm.

That is when Alcoa’s emergency response team hooked him to the defibrillator.

“I do remember them saying, ‘clear’,” he said. “But they said I was still out.”

Seventy-one minutes passed from the time the Calhoun County Emergency Medical Services arrived at the plant to when the blockage was cleared by a cardiologist at the Citizens cath lab.

That is well within the 90-minute time frame set by American College of Cardiology to have the blockage cleared, Stone said.

Stone was impressed at Alcoa’s emergency response team’s speedy action.

“The team’s efforts definitely saved a life,” said Allen Baxter, Alcoa’s health and safety manager. “This is what I call making the ultimate difference.”

On Friday, Machacek was ready to go home, looking as healthy as prior to his heart attack.

“I’m going to have to be really cautious on these holidays,” he said laughing.

Looking back, Machacek said he feels really fortunate. Had he been up four stories working, he may have not made it.

Even then, he never thought he could have a heart attack. He’s always had a slightly elevated blood pressure, but he never expected what happened on Valentine’s Day.

“It kind of really shocked me,” he said. “I come from a bullheaded family. We always say, ‘It ain’t gonna happen to you…’ and boom, it did.”

The Machaceks did not have any Valentine’s Day plans, but Stone said the couple received the best gift ever – a functioning heart.

For now, Machacek is going to take several weeks off work. He’s going to be more conscientious about his eating and exercise habits.

If there is anything Machacek has learned, he said, it’s something rather simple.

“50 is not that old,” he said smiling. “You’ve got a lot of life left in you.”

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Bystanders & Cop Save Man during Volunteer Event

Posted by cocreator on February 18, 2012
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Two volunteers working on the Ida May Project acted quickly and applied CPR to another volunteer and kept him alive until a police officer arrived on the scene with a defibrillator and shocked his heart back into action. When the man fainted to the floor, John Dupre of Centre Island and Bill Shepard of Huntington went to work giving him CPR to keep him breathing: John doing compressions and Bill giving mouth to mouth resuscitation.

John Dupre, who learned CPR in health class at St. Dominic’s, looked for the pulse and immediately started the critical chest compressions. It was the first time he used the skill. “I was glad Bill Shephard and Herb Shierhorst were there to help. It was nerve-wracking. But then Sgt. Clark showed up with the defibrillator and was there to help me. He showed up pretty quickly,” said John.

Sgt. Michael Clark of the Old Brookville Police Department had heard the call on his police car radio and quickly responded to J Building on West End Avenue to help.

The Oyster Bay Fire Company No. 1 arrived at the scene and took the man to Syosset Hospital.

Clint Smith, president of the Oyster Sloop Christeen Preservation Corporation and The Ida May Project said, “He is an artist. He comes in when he can. He was helping with the painting. He was in the other day and is looking good. He had three stents put in.

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