Imagine you were at work and your co-worker collapsed next to you—his heartbeat stopped. You only have four minutes to help before he dies. Would you know what to do to save his life?
Luckily for Bob Wilson, his Culinary Institute of America colleagues knew what to do. They used CPR and an AED when his heart suddenly stopped beating while he was walking on campus. His rescuers will be honored at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) 1st Annual Volunteer Awards event on June 14th at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel. The AHA want to celebrate other local heroes who have used CPR to help save a life at the June event. Nominate someone at: http://bit.ly/CPRHeroHV.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death. This electrical malfunction in the he
art causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) disrupting the normal flow of blood to the brain, lungs and other organs, causing death within minutes. Each year, over 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States. According to the AHA, 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die. But when a bystander immediately uses CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, it can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.
Wilson had trouble breathing and collapsed while walking with a friend, Laurie Lecomte, on their usual morning walk. She ran to get a campus safety officer, and Carl Wilson (no relation) responded as Safety Dispatcher Al Seifert called 9-1-1. Jeff Levine, Communications Manager at the CIA, and Neil Garrison, Supervisor of Environmental Health & Safety, both former EMTs, had just arrived in the parking lot for their workdays, and saw their colleague giving CPR to a victim. They ran to assist as Safety Officer, Rob Barclay brought an automatic external defibrillator, which can restore a normal heart rhythm. EMS paramedics arrived quickly and took over. He was transported to Vassar Hospital and was back to work three weeks later.
“Why did Bob Wilson survive? Because the Chain of Survival is strong at the Culinary. First, his colleagues recognized it was a cardiac emergency—they got help immediately and called 911. He’s alive because three bystanders knew CPR and didn’t delay in using it. They brought an AED to Bob’s side for early defibrillation, and paramedics were at the scene quickly. Without their fast intervention and training in CPR, we wouldn’t be celebrating Bob Wilson’s life,” said David Violante, Arlington Fire District Director of Emergency Medical Services, and AHA board member.
As rare as survival is from cardiac arrest, this is the second cardiac arrest victim saved on campus. In 2008, CIA student Douglas Chrisman collapsed during class in a kitchen. Again, the Chain of Survival was strong and his life was saved. Carl Wilson and Garrison assisted then, too.
Levine said when he was an EMT, he’d used CPR dozens of times, with only two victims surviving. This was the first friend he saved with CPR. Garrison is an American Heart Association CPR/AED & First Aid Instructor.
“We train for this very situation, but we hope it never happens,” said Garrison, “It just proves that the chain of survival here on campus and in the local community is strong and does work. Being CPR-trained is a life skill that everyone should have and the opportunity to help someone can occur anywhere and anytime, when least expected,” said Garrison.
Why should you know CPR? The AHA states that 70 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen outside the hospital—you will most likely be trying to save the life of someone you love. View the AHA’s training video at www.handsonlycpr.org.