Lifeguards Save Women during Pool Swim

Posted by cocreator on March 19, 2014
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As a lifeguard, Samantha Goy understands the importance of being prepared for an emergency — even if the situation is terrifying.

Samantha Goy the Saviour & Kugarany ‘Baba’ Sribalaharan the Survivor

Samantha Goy the Saviour & Kugarany ‘Baba’ Sribalaharan the Survivor

But those fears were cast aside this past December when Goy, 18, realized a swimmer at the Nashua YMCA was in trouble. Goy, along with her fellow lifeguard Brenna Connolly, quickly stepped into action when a woman lost consciousness while swimming laps in the pool.

Goy and Connolly were the guardian angels Kugarany ‘Baba’ Sribalaharan desperately needed that day when an undiscovered heart condition got the best of her and caused her to go into cardiac arrest while swimming.

Using CPR, Goy and Connolly were able to successfully revive Sribalaharan.

“My training just kicked in and instincts took over,” Goy said while attending an award ceremony Wednesday at Nashua High School South.

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Colleagues Save Lifeguard at Waterpark

Posted by cocreator on October 30, 2013
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A single moment can change a life. Cassandra Price hopes the moment that changed hers will save others.

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Price, with the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Installation Directorate Real Property Management office, was at work on July 1, 2013, when she experienced every parent’s worst nightmare. She received a phone call that her 21-year-old son Joshua was having a serious medical emergency.

“One of his friends called me and said (Joshua) wasn’t breathing and had no pulse. I honestly thought he had had an aneurysm. I never thought of a heart condition,” she recalled.

Price would later find out her son, a very healthy, athletic young man in the prime of his life, had experienced a sudden cardiac arrest. Unlike a heart attack, an SCA is an electrical problem in the heart leading to irregular heart rhythms that prevent the heart from pumping blood. The heart ceases and death occurs for 90 percent of victims, often within minutes.

Joshua was starting his shift as a lifeguard supervisor at Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, Texas, that morning. He collapsed while talking with one of his lead lifeguards. Thanks to the quick response by Joshua’s colleagues and the use of an automated external defibrillator, or AED, he survived.

Almost losing a son to SCA, a leading cause of death in the United States, turned Price into an advocate for heart screenings, first aid training and access to AEDs. She has been sharing their story because she knows the information can save lives.

“Be aware of sudden cardiac arrest. If you don’t know how to do CPR, learn it. Know where the AEDs are at your workplace and learn how to use them,” she said.

Price said Joshua had experienced some of the symptoms, including faintness and shortness of breath after exertion, but her family always attributed them to something else. Had they gone to the doctor and sought testing, however, a doctor told them Joshua would have been put on a betablocker and probably would never have experienced a sudden cardiac arrest.

Even though they didn’t recognize the symptoms in time, Price hopes spreading the word and teaching others what to look for will make a difference for others.

“I just try to make sure people, especially with their kids, are aware of the symptoms. If you (notice symptoms), don’t dismiss them,” she said.

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Lifeguards Save Boy at County Pool

Posted by cocreator on August 03, 2012
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A lifeguard rescued a young boy at an Anne Arundel County pool Saturday.

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The boy’s body was found laying at the deep end of the Waugh Chapel Swim Club in Gambrills. The lifeguard saw him, pulled him from the water, and began CPR. A defibrillator was also used during the rescue.

The boy was breathing and conscious when he was airlifted to Johns Hopkins Hospital.

According to the Connor Cares Foundation , the defibrillator used during Saturday’s rescue was the first one it ever donated. The foundation was created in 2006 after 5-year-old Conner Freed drowned underneath an empty lifeguard chair at a country club pool.

Since then, the group has donated defibrillators throughout Anne Arundel, Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties.


Monique Ward’s 8-year-old son, Ervin, is recovering at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. He was at a birthday party Saturday at the Waugh Chapel Swim Club in Gambrills when bystanders said he was near the slides in the deep end and went under. Ervin said he remembers very little.

“Water was getting into my mouth, and I kept trying to go over there, and I sank back down,” the boy told 11 News.

His mother said a lot of what happened is still vague, but she recalled standing around the pool talking with other parents when someone screamed that a child was in distress.

“I turned. A child had fallen into the water, so I ran over to where the child had fallen in and saw that it was my child that went into the water, which immediately put me into a state of panic,” Ward said.

“There was a lifeguard that was carrying a little boy. He was lifeless. He was just in bad shape,” witness Amy Davis said.

The swim club’s president said Ervin had no pulse and was not breathing, but a 20-year-old lifeguard named Mark and another woman training to be an EMT gave him CPR.

They also hooked him up to the automated external defibrillators. The machine indicated he didn’t need to be shocked and that he was alive.

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Lifeguards Save Teen after Pool Dive

Posted by cocreator on June 18, 2012
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Colton Boechler looks like many kids his age. The red-headed 11-year-old wears a black hoodie, skate shoes with bright blue laces and has a retainer. But a glimpse under his sweatshirt reveals a large white bandage over the left side of his chest as he arrives in the playroom at the B.C. Children’s Hospital with a pulse oximeter hooked up to his finger.

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Last Saturday, Colton was swimming at the University of B.C. Aquatic Centre when he went into cardiac arrest. Two quick-thinking lifeguards, Jane Bellett and Aaron Stryd, began performing two-person CPR after Bellett used an automatic external defibrillator (AED). Colton survived, and five days later, on Thursday at 7:45 a.m., he had a tiny defibrillator surgically implanted in his heart to prevent the same thing from happening again.

Asked how he was feeling just hours after the surgery, Colton responded like a typical kid: “Um, good.”

He was tired but grateful.

“I just want to say thank you Aaron and Jane for saving my life,” he said. “And the rest of the hospital.”

“There’s a good possibility we’ll be going home tomorrow,” said Colton’s dad, Kelly Boechler. “We’re optimistic. The surgery went well this morning. He’s recovering, as always, better than expected,” the father said, thanking in particular cardiologists Dr. Derek Human and Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi — who performed Thursday’s operation — and pediatric respirologist Dr. Michael Seear.

Colton’s is a familiar face around the hospital. He’s been a volunteer there since doctors there saved his life — the first time.

In 2007, he had the flu and the virus attacked his heart. He went into cardiac arrest, and then his lungs failed. He spent 100 days in B.C. Children’s Hospital. His recovery was hailed as a miracle, but the incident left him with an arrhythmia caused by the scar tissue on his heart. He didn’t know it, but he was at risk for another heart attack.

It happened after jumping off the three-metre high dive at the UBC pool. “I was doing a 360 spin. But then I came over to the edge and I was waving to my mom,” Colton said. He doesn’t remember sinking, his panicked mom pulling him out, or the lifeguards stepping in to re-start his heart. His mother Julie does.

“I just want to thank them for the love that they gave me and the support they gave me. [Bellett] put her arms around me and said she was there for me, she loved me and would look after me,” she said.

Because of the lifeguards’ quick response and the accessible AED, there’s been no loss of heart function and Colton’s CT and MRI scans have so far come back normal. He’s been eating a little, and went for a short walk in the hospital.

And now, with the built-in defibrillator, another heart arrhythmia should correct itself immediately.

“Obviously we were not expecting this in any way, shape or form. So to have the defibrillator in the pool was just an amazing thing. If this were to happen, it’s best for it to happen in a place like that because it got immediate attention,” said Colton’s dad.

“Obviously they did a great job because the outcome was fantastic. We couldn’t ask for a better outcome.”

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Cops & Lifeguard Save Man in Gym

Posted by cocreator on March 23, 2012
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A former college football player, Stephen Slocum, 50, liked to push himself. It worked in business, allowing him to become the owner of a successful Nationwide Insurance office in Salisbury.

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And it worked in the gym: He was a regular at the Mid-Shore YMCA, keeping himself as fit as when he played football in his college days. Cardiac stress tests were no challenge for him.

But one day at the gym, something went wrong.

“I noticed I didn’t have the same ‘punch’ I normally do,” Slocum said. “I got dizzy and thought I better get myself checked out.”

Slocum went to PRMC’s Emergency Department, where tests all seemed normal — except for the EKG. Just 45 minutes later, he already had a stent in place to fix an obstructed right coronary artery.

“I couldn’t believe how quick it was,” he said.

And he felt better almost immediately — so good, in fact, that he was soon back at the Y for his workout routine. Two weeks after the first incident, Slocum was exercising in the weight room when he was felled by a major heart attack due to a blood clot.

An off-duty detective sergeant from the Wicomico Sheriff’s Office, Michael Dolch, happened to be at the Y that day and helped revive Slocum.

“I just had walked in to work out, and some people told me there was a man having a seizure,” Dolch said. “I went to see if I could help, and when I went to take his vital signs, he stopped breathing.”

Dolch had been trained for CPR, but never had used it — now, his practice paid off. He and another bystander, an off-duty officer from Eastern Correctional Institution, kept Slocum’s heart pumping and airways circulating.

“When I went into the room and saw who was working on him, I knew these were two people who had been highly trained and I felt really good about his chances,” said Nora Mears, a longtime aquatics instructor at the YMCA.

Mears added her experience to boost Slocum’s chances — not only is she a lifeguard, but she also teaches lifeguard classes at the Y that include CPR and AED usage.

By another stroke of luck, Slocum’s good friend, Dr. Jeffrey H. Etherton of Delmarva Heart had donated a defibrillator to the Mid-Shore YMCA 10 years ago, to use in situations such as this one. Mears helped shock Slocum’s heart back into rhythm — it took three shocks.

Etherton, a YMCA board member, said he and his wife, Michele, decided to donate the AED after a fellow board member and philanthropist Herbert Fincher was felled by sudden cardiac death at the gym.

“A wonderful guy had died, and it struck me that something could have been done about it,” Etherton said. “About a month later, my wife and I donated the defibrillator.” Since then, the YMCA’s defibrillator has been used twice — Mears had been helping the first time, too. Both times, the AED helped save lives.

The Ethertons’ donation came well ahead of a growing national trend to install AEDs in public areas, from airports to malls. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute said 95 percent of people who have sudden cardiac arrest die from it if they are not rapidly treated with an AED.

It made the difference for Stephen Slocum.

On his 50th birthday, Nov. 27, 2011, Slocum was released from the hospital, just weeks after a heart attack that many could not have survived.

Today, he is back to work, and back to working out, too — although now it’s at Peninsula Regional’s cardiac rehab facility, where his heart is monitored while he exercises.

Even though Slocum’s heart attack happened at the gym, he is still a strong believer in exercise.

“I don’t think I would have been able to recover as quickly — maybe even wouldn’t have survived — if I wasn’t so fit,” he said.

It’s likely that family history played a role in his heart disease. Slocum said many people in his family, including his father, had cardiac problems. Exercise is a vital way to ensure that his heart recovers and stays healthy.

Slocum is grateful to all who helped him that day.

“I am a man of faith, and I believe that it was by God’s grace that all the proper people were lined up to keep me alive,” Slocum said.

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