It’s not often a doctor who specializes in skin diseases is called upon to rescue someone with a stalled heart.
View First Aid Corps World Map of Lives Saved with AEDs in a larger map
But when a man collapsed at the Stephens Family YMCA late Sunday afternoon, Christie Clinic dermatologist Dr. Jeremy Youse swung into action for all his one year of advanced cardiac life support training was worth.
“My year of training that I thought I would never use came in pretty handy,” he said Tuesday.
Youse said he was at the YMCA exercising when he heard a commotion across the room and someone called out, “we need a doctor.”
“It felt very much like a primetime drama,” he said.
Youse said he went right into doctor mode, and found a man who appeared to be about 75 or 80 years old who looked like he’d passed out or fallen. His heart wasn’t beating, he wasn’t responsive, and when Youse checked his pulse, he found, “he was pulse-less.”
The man who collapsed was identified by YMCA CEO Mark Johnson as Dave Sutton, a YMCA member.
Sutton was in critical condition at Carle Foundation Hospital Tuesday.
Youse said he started doing chest compressions on Sutton, then CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and then used the YMCA’s automatic external defibrillator, a portable device used to diagnose life threatening heart arrhythmias and administer an electrical shock to the heart, if necessary.
Three other health care providers were also at the YMCA exercising and soon all four were hovered around Sutton, Youse said.
One of them, Laurie Lee, a physician assistant with Kirby Medical Group in Atwood, said the patient appeared to have fallen from a treadmill and most likely a deficiency of oxygen to the heart sent him down.
She called for the defibrillator device, “and we got it on him in seconds,” she said.
“After we shocked the guy, he woke up,” Youse said.
Sutton was down for less than four minutes, but before he left on the ambulance, he was talking, Youse said.
“He seemed a little sore, a little bit groggy, but he was coherent,” Youse said.
Johnson said the YMCA has had four AED machines, “fortunately one near the treadmills,” since it opened, and the staff is trained how to use them.
He wasn’t there when Sutton collapsed, Johnson said, but he is so proud of how everyone swung into action and worked together to help rescue him.
“We kind of pride ourselves here on being a community,” he said.
Youse said what he hopes others might take away from this is how important a little CPR training is for everyone.
Youse took his advanced cardiac life support training back during his internship at Mayo Clinic. But he learned those automatic external defibrillator machines in public places are so simple to use, about anybody could follow the instructions to help save a life.
“It’s completely autopilot,” Youse said. “They are idiot-proof.”
But he urges everyone to spend at least 10 or 15 minutes understanding the basics of CPR.
“Even if there are not doctors there, if people have a little bit of CPR training, if there are those AED machines there, they could do the same thing,” he said.