Can you tell me a little bit about your CPR save?
It’s one of those things that happens in the career of a paramedic and that will stick with you for life. I’ve seen a lot and I’ve done a lot, but responding to Gregory’s house is something that has stuck not only with me, but with the entire team.
There is no one individual that saved a life that day. It really truly is a team effort. It started with Greg’s parents, who were scared to death of what was taking place and having a lifeless young body in their house. I was fortunate that day to work with my partner Nick, and volunteer ambulance corps, as well as our police department dispatchers. All of us were very experienced and well-versed in what needed to be done.
As soon as we walked into the house, it was very apparent that we were in a critical situation. A young boy was lifeless on the floor. We immediately started high-quality CPR, with ventilation and chest compressions. We looked at his cardiac status, used defibrillation as needed – as well as intubation and ventilation. We’re on the time clock as soon as someone goes into SCA. There’s only minutes before hypoxic brain injury occurs. He was down probably a good eight to ten minutes. So we knew we were on the cusp of working to bring someone back from the dead. We were able to bring his pulse back within 10 minutes, and got him to the hospital for the support he needed so he could live a full life.
Often, paramedics leave patients behind after saving them. But I had such an immediate connection to the family, so I stayed in touch with his mom and dad, and I’ve worked with Gregory as a mentor as he’s progressed to his medical career. I consider him almost like a little brother. We all feel very fortunate that we were able to be a part of something that worked out so tremendously well.
How has this event impacted your life afterward?
I’m a father of five kids. I think events like this make us more aware that we need to love our children, we need to cherish them. And we need to find moments in time that we hug and hold them, and not always chase the next dream, the next sporting event, the next whatever. It’s really important to learn to slow down and appreciate the little things in life.
I feel so fortunate to have gone to Greg’s wedding and watched him grow up, and that gives you validation as a paramedic and medical clinician – the skills that I have, that I can bring to bear on another person’s life, are really validated by watching this kid stand at the altar, get married, become a registered nurse and pursue his dreams.
What do you want others to know about Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
The unfortunate thing is that people often don’t find out about these conditions until somebody goes into cardiac arrest. So first and foremost, I feel like every new parent should learn how to do CPR. Because at the end of the day, if somebody goes into cardiac arrest – which we cannot control – at least we can respond properly.