Family, Cops & Medics Save Man at Home

Posted by cocreator on January 29, 2014
Events / No Comments

Marty Burley came awfully close to death on Oct. 10.

Marty Burley the Survivor

Marty Burley the Survivor

The Apple Valley resident says he owes his life to those who sprang into action when he went into cardiac arrest – and lost consciousness – that frightful day last fall.

“I shouldn’t be here,” he said bluntly. “I did not have a pulse for 28 minutes.”

Emergency workers and family members who played a role in saving Burley’s life were recognized in a ceremony Jan. 9 at the Apple Valley City Council meeting.

Ten people in all received the Allina Lifesaver Award. They were: Burley’s girlfriend Karen Mataya and her daughter Hannah Wilhelm; dispatcher Stacie Theis; Apple Valley Police Sgt. Greg Dahlstrom and Officer Joel Horazuk; Apple Valley Fire Capt. Matt Nelson and firefighters Andy Tindell and Joe Landru; and Allina paramedics Brian Nagel and Andrew Rinerson.

“This is a really good day,” Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland said at the meeting. “Everyone acted as they were trained to do. They went above and beyond, and Marty’s here with us today.”

According to an account of the incident provided by Apple Valley Fire Chief Nealon Thompson, emergency personnel were dispatched to Burley’s home at about 6:40 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, on a report of a man experiencing chest pain.

While they were en route, Mataya and Wilhelm began CPR with instructions provided over the phone from Dakota Communications Center dispatch.

Apple Valley police arrived first on the scene and took over lifesaving procedures using a defibrillator. The fire crew and Allina paramedics were next to arrive, and Burley, who eventually regained a pulse, was transported to the hospital.

“With that, he is alive and well,” Thompson said, noting that Burley suffered no neurological damage in the incident.

Burley, who returned to work in November at his job at a Minneapolis graphics firm, continues to do cardiac rehab three times a week.

“Oct. 10 is now my second birthday,” said Burley, noting that his actual birthday is Oct. 2. “It’s going to be a good month next year.”

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Cop & Family Save Young Man at Home, Dad Discovers Same Heart Condition

Posted by cocreator on December 19, 2013
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The Ellsworth family was relaxing at their home near Rush Lake Feb. 16 when the unthinkable happened: Andy Ellsworth, then 23 years old and in good physical condition, had a sudden cardiac arrest.

Joann & Ken Ellsworth the Saviours

Joann & Ken Ellsworth the Saviours

Joann Ellsworth, Andy’s mom, said the last thing her son said to her before collapsing was that he “didn’t feel good.”

“We told him to hit the toilet, and he did that ‘last breath before death’ thing,” Joann Ellsworth said. “My son Charles knew right away something was wrong, and Ken (her husband) and Charles started CPR right away and got on the phone to 911.”

Fortunately for the Ellsworths, Chisago County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Ryan Edmonds was responding to a call on the other side of Rush Lake when the call from dispatch went out to emergency responders.

FAC logo

Edmonds was first on the scene within minutes of the 911 call, and in his squad he had a device that proved integral to saving Andy Ellsworth’s life: an automated external defibrillator.

Although he had never used the AED on a person before, Edmonds had been trained on how to use the device, and he administered a shock with it that restarted Andy Ellsworth’s heart.

An ambulance from Cambridge Medical Center then arrived and transported Andy Ellsworth to the hospital; he was airlifted from the center to Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis for more treatment.

He spent three days in a medically induced coma, but he eventually fully recovered from the cardiac arrest.

Andy Ellsworth now has a defibrillator under the skin on his chest that will shock his heart if it stops again.

Due to Andy Ellsworth having a heart attack at such a young age, doctors suggested the whole family get tested for the genetic heart condition he has: arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy.

Ken Ellsworth tested positive for the condition, and he, like his son, didn’t have an inkling that he had a heart condition. Also like his son, Ken Ellsworth had an internal defibrillator implanted.

That turned out to be a good decision; the device likely saved his life less than two weeks ago.

On Dec. 7, Ken Ellsworth was awake before the rest of his family, and he wasn’t feeling very well.

When he was in the garage of his home, he was hit with a powerful shock that brought him to his knees.

At first, he didn’t know what was going on, and then the second shock hit and the reality of what was happening sunk in: his heart was beating irregularly, and the internal defibrillator was delivering shocks to get it back in rhythm.

Ken Ellsworth ended up going to the hospital following the incident, but the device had done what it was supposed to do — it saved his life.

If his son hadn’t had a heart attack less than a year prior, Ken Ellsworth would have likely died that day.

“You know, Andy thanked me for helping save his life in February,” he said. “I called him up on Saturday and thanked him for saving mine.”

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Family & First Responders Save Man at Home

Posted by cocreator on November 26, 2013
Events / No Comments

Weybread resident Nick Tibbenham, 50, suffered a heart attack at his home in Church Street on January 25.

Nick Tibbenham (centre left) the Survivor, Steve Hammond & Graeme Seaman the Saviours

Nick Tibbenham (centre left) the Survivor, Steve Hammond & Graeme Seaman the Saviours

Mr Tibbenham’s wife Jo and son Toby, both first aid trained, initiated CPR at the scene, while Toby’s girlfriend Evie Rogers went outside the home to direct the community first responders in.

Steve Hammond and Graham Seaman, of the Waveney Valley Responders, were called to action while the ambulance was on route, providing vital care which helped save Mr Tibbenham’s life.

Mr Tibbenham said: “I was extremely lucky. My wife and son started CPR on me before Steve and Graham got there with the defibrillator. If any one of those elements had not been available I would not be here.

“They give up their own free time. I just felt I wanted to thank them in some way.

The defibrillator, which cost more than £2,000 and was fitted in early October, has been placed at the Harleston Magpies Hockey Club, in Weybread, which is available for public use.

It was after his near death experience that Mr Tibbenham, alongside hockey club vice-president Rosemary Mason, sought donations to provide the life-saving equipment. Money was donated by the hockey club’s vice presidents, Grainseed Ltd of Eye, Protein Feeds of Saxmundham, as well from the trustees of the local Deans Trust.

Mr Hammond was at the club on Saturday to provide demonstrations on how to use the defibrillator to members of the hockey club.

Mr Hammond, of Metfield Road, Fressingfield, organised the event and told the Diss Express: “It is really nice to see him (Nick) up and about – he is getting his life back on track. After what he had been through he was very, very grateful.

“In situations like that the first few minutes are crucial. For every minute someone is not breathing it is a ten per cent less chance of surviving,” he said.

It is not the only successful response for Mr Hammond and Mr Seaman, who also saved the life of a lady in Fressingfield in March.

“I would encourage people to be first responders but equally I think it is really important people learn a bit of first aid.”

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Family & Neighbours Save Man Shoveling Snow

Posted by cocreator on January 19, 2012
Events / No Comments

The purchase of a home defibrillator turned out to be a very wise decision made by Coalmont residents Diane and Bob Sterne.

Although the couple had no history of heart problems the purchase was made because Diane worried about how long it would take for medical help to arrive to Coalmont (19 km from Princeton) if either of them should have a heart-related emergency.

On Dec. 30, 2011, while out shoveling snow, Bob Sterne’s heart just stopped.

While letting her dogs out, neighbour Suzie Michaud witnessed Sterne fall down, try to get up and then go down again. She immediately ran inside to get her husband Ray Michaud to help and then called her dad, Maurice Chartrand.

During this time, Diane was on the phone to 911. Within less than a minute, Chartrand and his two sons who were visiting for the holidays — Mike and Shane were on scene and began CPR.

Ray Michaud arrived just as Diane brought out the home defibrillator and together he and Diane hooked it up to Bob. The machine went to work and a shock was given.

“He gasped and then went out again,” said Michaud.

CPR ensued with Mike and Shane again until the defibrillator was ready to proceed. The second shock was given—Bob breathed and his pulse was detected by Shane.

By this time, thanks to the phone call chain of neighbours, Jodi Woodford, Chief of the Tulameen Fire Department, arrived and outfitted Bob with oxygen.

“It was scary there for a while,” said Chartrand, “but once we got him breathing, we knew he’d be okay.”

Due to treacherous road conditions, it took 45 minutes for the ambulance to arrive.

“It was awful, said Michaud, “we could hear the sirens from the ambulance for 10 minutes before they got to us. That’s how bad the roads were.”

On Jan. 12, Bob Sterne had surgery to implant a pacemaker/defibrillator. For some unknown reason on Dec. 30, his heart short-circuited and the implant will prevent it from happening again.

According to Diane, the doctors are amazed with Bob’s condition.

“The quick actions of Maurice, Mike and Shane meant that Bob not only lived, but he didn’t suffer any brain damage,” she said.

The defibrillator traveled with Bob to Vancouver, as it stored medical information from his event.

“I would highly recommend this life saving machine to anyone who lives any distance from emergency response,” she added.

The help given to the Sterne’s did not end once Bob was finally loaded into the ambulance. Neighbours took care of their motel, called the Sterne children, took care of their puppy and drove Diane to Penticton.

Diane and Bob Sterne send their deepest and most sincere thanks to their heroes, friends and neighbours, to the doctors and nurses and to God for orchestrating the entire rescue.

“We will never forget you and we will never be able to thank you enough.”

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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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