Archive for March, 2013

Bystander & Cop Save Cyclist on Roadway

Posted by cocreator on March 16, 2013
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A Sacramento-area bicyclist is alive today thanks to a Marin County sheriff’s deputy and a private citizen who treated him after he collapsed on a San Geronimo Valley roadway Sunday afternoon, police said.

At about 3 p.m. passersby called 911 when they saw a woman performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a bicyclist in the roadway of Nicasio Valley Road, just north of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.

Marin County sheriff’s Deputy Chris Boden was in the area and sped to the scene, arriving within two minutes to find the man unconscious and not breathing, said Marin sheriff’s Lt. Doug Pittman.

Boden determined the bicyclist had not been struck by a car; he brought out a defibrillator, an electrical diagnostic and treatment device, and attached the electrodes to the chest of the cyclist, a man in his 50s whose name has not been released.

The defibrillator diagnosed the cyclist with arrhythmia and directed Boden to administer an electric shock, which allowed the cyclist’s heart to reestablish an effective rhythm, Pittman said.

Minutes later, Marin County Fire Department medics arrived and continued treatment, transporting the cyclist to Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae. The cyclist’s family told police the cyclist was in intensive care Monday undergoing further treatment.

The sheriff’s office is trying to find the citizen who administered CPR to thank her for her lifesaving efforts. Firefighters and medical personnel said the citizen and the deputy sheriff saved the bicyclist’s life.

“Talking to the firefighters and the doctors at Marin General, they credited the use of the (defibrillator) with saving the cyclist’s life because he (Boden) was on-scene so quickly,” Pittman said.

“We are really proud of him. He deserves to be recognized for this outstanding performance and the fact that this individual’s life was saved,” Pittman said.

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Friends Save Elderly Man in Senior Center

Posted by cocreator on March 16, 2013
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Heart attack victim Herbert Rotchford knows that he wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for the quick action of bystanders applying a shock from an automatic external defibrillator.


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Rotchford, 75, and his wife Judith had just arrived at the Havelock Senior Center to play Bingo on Feb. 1 when he passed out.

It soon became apparent that Rotchford was having a heart attack and 911 was called.

Their friend, Irene Hess, began CPR, then used a portable automatic external defibrillator to apply an electrical shock to Rotchford as he lay on the floor.

Herbert Rotchford the Survivor

“She put one patch on and I put one patch on and we waited for the machine to say what to do,” Judith Rotchford said. “The machine said shock once and she pushed the button. She continued CPR until the rescue guys got here.”

The reaction to the shock was immediate.

“They said that when they shocked me, I raised right up off the floor,” Herbert Rotchford said.

Jason Morand, a firefighter/paramedic with the Havelock Fire and Rescue Department, responded to the call.

“We pretty much found him lying on the floor with a bystander doing CPR,” he said. “He didn’t have a pulse. We took over CPR. We put him on the monitor, got him on the ambulance. That’s when we started doing all the other interventions. That one time was the only time he was shocked. I’m 100 percent sure that’s what saved his life.”

It’s the second time that the wall-mounted box has been brought out to save a life at the senior center. Other AEDs are kept at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center and the Havelock Recreation Department. Eight units were recently placed in Havelock Police Department patrol cars.

The paramedics say that the initial minutes following a heart attack are crucial. If the victim doesn’t get oxygen, they begin to die.

“All your organs start shutting down, one by one,” Morand said. “You start losing oxygen to your brain so you develop brain damage. Your heart tissue starts dying off.”

Morand and fellow firefighter/paramedic Scott Dorsett were the first to arrive and found Hess performing CPR on the victim.

“He wasn’t in the best shape. I’m really glad that we have the AEDs in the city. That saved his life,” Dorsett said. “At the fire and rescue department, we’re just so excited that we can be involved with that because it’s a little bit more of an outreach. We get to interact with people and train them with the AEDs. We just placed AEDs in most of the cop cars and trained the police officers how to use them. We’re just so excited to be more involved in emergency medicine in the community.”

Studies have shown that sooner defibrillation in this type of instance is key to saving someone’s life.

“You want early intervention because oxygen levels in the bloodstream are still high, so if we had maybe been here 10 minutes later and he hadn’t been defibrillated, we would have to have done CPR and put oxygen back into his bloodstream to actually have a chance at reviving his heart,” Dorsett said. “The fact that it happened right there so soon increased his chances of survival tenfold. That’s why you see AEDs around in the community and that’s why the Havelock Fire Department is pushing to have AEDs in the community. It’s so vital to have that early defibrillation in these types of instances.”

Wayne Lee, another responding paramedic, said the defibrillation is the key.
“Most of the time they don’t survive it. To have him walk out is amazing,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re going to make the heart do what it needs to do to get back in rhythm is to defibrillate it. It’s really fortunate that Mrs. Hess was here to be able to use that device and that we could follow up behind here to make sure that he made it up to the hospital.”

Herbert Rotchford said he appreciated everyone’s effort to save his life.

“By doing CPR, they forced my lungs to breathe and put air into my brain. Fortunately with the shock, the CPR, I’ve survived and I’m fully functional,” he said. “I could have been a vegetable, literally. The first time I came back I thanked everybody here, because I literally died and these guys and Mrs. Hess brought me back. I’m thankful for it. I was fortunate.”

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Teammates Save Hockey Player in Arena

Posted by cocreator on March 16, 2013
Events / No Comments

It was just a regular Sunday pickup game of hockey.


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Gary Smits, 47, wasn’t even supposed to be playing that December morning. He’d been called in as a sub.

Teammate Dale Blanchard had also been called in at the last minute — a stroke of luck that would prove a lifesaver for Smits, a technology and co-op teacher at Medway high school.

Gary Smits the Survivor & Dale Blanchard the Saviour

After 50 minutes on the ice, Smits felt a little bit of chest discomfort, maybe a little bit hotter than usual. He chalked it up to hard game-play.

As he skated back onto the ice, though, “the lights went out. The next thing I remember was them loading me into the ambulance.”

Smits had had a heart attack.

Blanchard, an off-duty Middlesex-London EMS paramedic, grabbed the nearby defibrillator and teammates began performing CPR after calling 911. Their quick actions likely saved Smit’s life.

Doctors told Smits one of his arteries was 78% blocked. Now, nearly two months after Smits’ ordeal, Middlesex-London EMS, which works with the Heart and Stroke Foundation to distribute free defibrillators to public facilities, wants to give Medway high school a free machine.

No thanks, says Thames Valley district school board. The free machine isn’t one of two models the board has approved for use in its schools, so it’s turning it down. Smits is still off work, hoping to be medically cleared to go back in March.

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