Friend & Paramedics Save Young Father during Parade

Posted by cocreator on October 05, 2011
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William Kendhammer was sipping a cold beer Saturday at the Maple Leaf Parade, chatting with a friend. The next thing he remembers, he was staring up at emergency personnel as they fought to save his life.

“He was essentially dead,” said Dr. Kristof Gehrke, a physician in Mayo Clinic Health System’s intensive care unit.

Kendhammer, a 34-year-old father of two, had gone into sudden cardiac arrest.

Luckily, a pair of Tri-State Ambulance bicycle paramedics had an automated external defibrillator. It’s what saved his life, Gehrke said.

Kendhammer and his wife, Kathy, 32, were at the corner of State and Second streets with about two dozen friends for their annual parade tradition of grilling out and drinking beer. Mid-conversation, his wife saw Kendhammer fall backward into the crowd.

“I tried smacking him in the face and told him to wake up,” she said.

Kendhammer’s cousin called 911, and a friend started CPR. Two paramedics on bicycles arrived about a minute later, along with the La Crosse Fire Department. The AED brought Kendhammer back, said Tri-State Ambulance Supervisor Nick Eastman. He arrived at the hospital 10 minutes later, alert and talking.

Each squad car at the La Crosse city police and county sheriff’s departments has an AED, as well as each emergency vehicle at the La Crosse Fire Department. Tri-State carries similar machines in each ambulance, and both bike teams have an AED.

It’s critical in saving lives, Eastman said. Without early CPR or an AED, survival chances go down 10 percent every minute.

Kendhammer never expected he’d suffer a cardiac arrest. Looking back, he had some signs, like chest pains in the weeks beforehand. He thought nothing of it.

“You don’t expect this at 30-something,” he said. “You figure you don’t have to worry until your 50s or 60s. It was an eye-opener.”

On Tuesday morning, the La Crosse resident had a small defibrillator placed next to his heart. It’ll kick in if he has another cardiac arrest.

He says he’s learned to appreciate what he has. “You’re not going to be here forever.”

Still, he’s trying to add a little humor to the situation with next year’s Oktoberfest shirts for his group of friends. Kendhammer get’s to pick out what they say.

Perhaps “Shocktoberfest” or “A heart-stopping good time.”

“We’ll come up with something good,” he said.

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Doctor & Cop Save Man during 4th July Parade

Posted by cocreator on July 11, 2011
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The last thing Ron Raidy remembers was shooting off a cannon.

Ron Raidy the Survivor

The Bartlett man and his Civil War re-enactment group, Stanford’s Battery, were nearing the end of the Hinsdale July Fourth parade. The Confederate artillery unit draws a lot of interest wherever it goes, especially when they fire the bronze cannon perched on its carriage.

“We had pushed the cannon for more than a mile,” Raidy said, “but I felt fine. I didn’t feel anything coming on.”

Instead of hearing the crowd’s cheer, the 61-year-old collapsed in full cardiac arrest. On Thursday he was recovering from quadruple bypass surgery performed Wednesday at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital.

“It’s like a miracle,” Raidy said.

By all accounts, Raidy is one lucky man. Although he had no history of heart trouble and he was in good shape leading up to the parade — from pushing a cannon for the last three years, he quips — he nearly died in his boots.

“His timing couldn’t have been better,” said Kevin Baker, a firefighter and paramedic with the Hinsdale Fire Department. “The (Adventist Hinsdale) hospital float was right behind him, so there were a lot of medical personnel right there.”

As even better luck would have it, a cardiologist who specializes in heart rhythms was watching the parade with his family, taking in the Confederate group.

“I noticed all the commotion when he went down,” said Dr. Greg Lewis of Hinsdale-based Illinois Heart and Vascular. “When he wasn’t getting up, I went over and found that he was unconscious, not breathing and without a pulse.”

Lewis recognized Raidy was in danger of dying. He immediately began administering CPR, staying with it until Hinsdale Police Officer Tim Lennox arrived with an automatic external defibrillator. The AED shocked Raidy enough to resuscitate him, and Hinsdale paramedics took him to the hospital.

Firefighters said they see too many cardiac arrest cases that don’t have happy endings.

“We see a cardiac incident from time to time,” Baker said, “but what we don’t see is one of them go down in front of us.

“Just knowing he has had a successful outcome,” he added, “makes all of our work and training worthwhile.”

Lewis concurred, adding that while he diagnoses heart rhythms every day, he never expected to be doing it on his day off.

“When a cardiac arrest happens outside of the hospital, your only hope is that someone is there to witness it, and someone has immediate access to a defibrillator,” he said. “In this case, he had both of those. Were it not for those, he would have been dead.”

On Thursday, Raidy said he felt “good” and was “getting better.” He works in cargo customs compliance for Air Canada at O’Hare Airport, which will have to live without him for a while.

His biggest disappointment, however, is missing this weekend’s Civil War Days in Wauconda, where his unit had to carry on without him.

“The doctors haven’t talked about when I can return,” Raidy said. “But I’ll be back.”

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56 Year Old Man Saved at Parade

Posted by cocreator on November 27, 2008
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We will be reporting on lives saved around the world since our first documented life saved here in Singapore.

Witnesses said 56-year-old Dave Swisher, of Gettysburg, who also works for the Gettysburg College facilities services department, was near the front of the parade carrying a drum when the coronary attack occurred just before 1:30 p.m.

According to the report I have here, our defibrillator was used, but it wasn’t one of our people who used it. Before the defibrillator was used, someone was doing CPR, from what I understand.”

Medic 28 was on hand and Swisher was transported to Gettysburg Hospital before being taken by helicopter to Hershey.

Monday morning, Swisher underwent triple-bypass surgery at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

At 2 p.m., a public relations spokesperson listed his condition as critical.

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