David Mercik was going about his normal routine in the early morning of Sept. 6, preparing to end his overnight shift at Simonds International in Fitchburg.
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Mercik, of Ashburnham, who has worked at Simonds for 28 years, the majority on the overnight shift, doesn’t remember much of what happened that day, only waking up in a hospital room at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.
At about 4:30 that morning, other workers were preparing to go home, while the day shift was just coming in.
David Mercik the Survivor
It was then that Mercik was found by a fellow employee slumped over his desk, unconscious.
They quickly laid him on the floor and began chest compression’s, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and shocked his heart with a defibrillator.
Mercik, who had suffered a heart attack, says he has no memory of what happened.
“I honestly don’t remember anything. I don’t even remember many of the days leading up to that, and what I did,” he said. “I guess they saved my life. It’s a good thing they had the defibrillator charged and ready to go. The right people called the right people.”
He’s contacted most of the men who helped, including Andy Lampson, who used the defibrillator paddles on him and gave him mouth-to-mouth.
Lampson was just starting his shift when he saw co-workers frantically running around the office, calling for help.
When he saw what was going on, he never thought twice about reacting. He grabbed the defibrillator.
“I never questioned what I needed to do. It was the right thing,” Lampson said Thursday from his Sterling home.
He was never trained on using the life-saving machine or even administering CPR, but his girlfriend and her mother are both nurses, so he had an idea of what needed to happen.
He said he and his girlfriend recently visited her mother at the emergency room at Leominster Hospital when a patient went into distress and CPR was administered.
“I saw how forceful you had to be with the compression’s, so I had a general idea of what I needed to do. The machine was easier to use than I thought,” he recalled. “There were pictures that came along with it, and after a certain point, it started talking to us.”
He said his biggest asset during the ordeal was being able to stay calm, cool and collected.
“You needed to be clear-headed and rationale. Getting all worked up wasn’t going to help any,” he said. “I was pretty scared during this whole thing. When he was being loaded into the ambulance, he didn’t look good, and I was really worried he wasn’t going to make it,” Lampson said.
Mercik’s wife, Debby, said she’ll never forget getting a phone that morning saying her husband was in the back of an ambulance and headed to the hospital.
He was initially taken to HealthAlliance Hospital and then transferred by medical helicopter to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, where he remained for two weeks.
Debby credits the quick response from his co-workers in saving her husband’s life.
“He was found unresponsive in a chair, slumped over by a co-worker who laid him down and called for help,” she said. “Thank goodness they have a defibrillator on hand. From what I understand, he had no pulse. This whole thing has been a nightmare.”
She said her husband never had any medical issues, and the night before his attack he had gone bowling.
“He had no shortness of breathing, nothing. All summer, he was in the pool and the garden and doing things around the house,” she said.
Since his heart attack, she’s struggled to find the right words to express her gratitude for what people have done for her family.
“Thank you seems so lame. We can never say thank you enough to them. It just doesn’t seem enough,” she said.
If there’s one thing she hopes people take away from her story, it’s that all employers should make sure their employees have access to the proper medical equipment at work in case of a medical emergency.
“To be honest with you, we’re very private people. This is so important. If I have to be the voice on how important it is to have these in the workplaces, then so be it,” she said. “This could happen to anyone. We were told the defibrillator saved his life. There needs to a protocol in place in the workplace. It we can make the difference in passing this to one family, then great.”