EHS OutLoud Blog
paramedics CPR

Our Best Efforts

When a young woman went into cardiac arrest, her husband stepped in and did the right thing: he started CPR. Adam O’Connor, a firefighter who responded to this emergency, explains what happened:

I was teaching a HAZWOPER class at a local manufacturer when a man stopped me as I walked through the break room.

“You don’t remember me, do you?” he asked.

I took a second look and immediately remembered the face from a year earlier. I knew a smile was splitting my face when I said, “I know exactly who you are! How are your wife and baby?”

Last fall, this man called 9-1-1 when his wife went into full arrest. She had just had their daughter 2 weeks earlier and suffered a complication from the birth. Fortunately, this young man had taken a course in CPR as part of their prenatal training. He was doing chest compressions when I arrived on the scene with other responders. The closest hospital was 10 minutes away and, to be honest, I wasn’t feeling good about her chances. But her husband kept that tissue oxygen circulating and kept that Krebs cycle spinning until we arrived. It wasn’t the smoothest scene we had ever been to, but we never stopped compressions, and we kept the oxygen flowing to the brain.

As I stood there recalling that day, the wife herself came strolling into the break room. She worked at the same facility as her husband and now, thanks in part to his quick thinking and lifesaving efforts, she could share a laugh with coworkers and then go home to her family every night.

When she saw me standing with her husband in the break room, her face lit up and she came over to give me a hug. On that fateful day last fall, a young man had kept his wife in the game, and then we did a little relief pitching, and she lived! We couldn’t ask for a better ending to that crisis.

I have been a fireman for most of my adult life. It hasn’t always been a picnic, but this experience just reinforced that the job is worth our best efforts.

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