Colleague not history thanks to museum volunteers
In late August, a volunteer at the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center suffered sudden cardiac death.
The man’s fellow volunteers swang into action, with one helping him to the ground, another calling 911 and a third performing CPR while the fourth went for the defibrillator placed at the museum by East Fork Fire District.
“The crew of museum volunteers performed CPR and delivered an electrical shock from the AED to restart the patient’s heart before the arrival of East Fork Fire crews from Fire Station 14 within six minutes,” East Fork Deputy Chief Dave Fogerson said.
Medics took the man to Carson Valley Medical Center where he was stabilized before taken for further treatment and discharged a few days later.
In honor of the second month since the incident, East Fork Fire Protection District personnel are hosting CPR training 6:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at the museum.
The district’s board of directors honored museum volunteers Linda Avance, Linda Lechein, Dale Bohlman and Frank Dressel for their work in saving their colleague.
“The patient was present and provided his thanks to the civilian rescuers and East Fork Fire,” Fogerson said.
He said the man belongs to a club of people who can celebrate two birthdays every year, one when they were born and the one when their heart stopped but was restarted.
Earlier this year, firefighters responded to a man experiencing chest pain in Pine View Estates. When firefighters arrived, the patient told them this was the “big one.” Firefighters quickly treated his symptoms while placing him on our 12-lead cardiac monitor, which indicated that he was having a heart attack. He was taken to the closest cath lab for treatment.
“While on the way to the cath lab, the patient suffered sudden cardiac death,” Fogerson said. “Firefighters were able to restart the patient’s heart twice in the back of the ambulance. The patient arrived at the cath lab, had invasive procedures performed and was released home a few days later.”
East Fork Fire Protection District is one of five Heartsafe Communities within Nevada. This is a program designed to rally residents around saving victims of sudden death from an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
“The program starts with public education and hands-only CPR classes,” Fogerson said. “These are taught by the Community Emergency Response Team. It continues with the placement of public access AEDs designed for bystander use to shock the heart into beating again.”
Douglas 911 is a key partner providing CPR and AED instructions when a bystander calls.
“They dispatch the call to both East Fork Fire and the Sheriff’s Office within 60 seconds to alert responders quickly,” Fogerson said. “Our Sheriff’s Office assists the medics by performing CPR while the medic performs advanced skills.
“Rapid transport to the closest facility is next along with a good transfer process to a cardiac catheterization lab when necessary,” Fogerson said.
Plans are in the works to improve heart attack response which include purchase of an additional 12-lead cardiac monitor so every paramedic fire engine and paramedic rescue ambulance has one on it.
East Fork is also working with Douglas 911, Carson City Fire and Quad County Public Health Preparedness to launch a program called Pulse Point. When a cardiac arrest call is dispatched, a smart phone app will alert bystanders to someone needing CPR along with a map of the closest defibrillator.
“Science and experience has shown it is quick CPR and AED use that saves lives,” Fogerson said. “Right now East Fork gets help coming faster by alerting all East Fork staff with an all-call tone and response of Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, who have AEDs provided by East Fork Fire in some units, to get someone to the patient quickly.”
The program will also allow East Fork to identify the location of stop the bleed kits, which are used in the event of an active assailant.
Fogerson said East Fork is working with Tahoe Douglas Fire and Quad County Public Health Preparedness to place stop the bleed kits with all public access AEDs and in our schools.