It was a pleasant day, that Tuesday. We had just finished our morning roundtable and were on our way to our respective divisions. My friend didn’t look well … kind of pale, maybe ashen … and kind of sweaty. In fact, he was pouring sweat.
I asked him, “Are you OK?” He said he was fine, “just a little tired.” He stumbled and seemed to conserve strength by leaning against the wall. I asked if I should call for help and he said he’d be OK, “just need a place to sit for a minute.”
Though my instincts told me that something worse was going on, I listened to my friend deny that anything at all was wrong. I asked if I should call an ambulance and again he denied the offer for help.
When I saw his eyes roll back into his head, I grabbed him, laid him down, and called for help. I remembered what I had learned in my recent CPR class about how simple it is to use an AED, or Automated External Defibrillator, and how the earlier I intervene, the better my friends’ chances would be.
I was scared out of my wits and perspiring like crazy. Another co-worker saw what was going on, and I told him to call 911 and get the AED. Surprisingly lucid, I remembered the steps; check for breathing, locate hand placement, deliver 30 compressions, give two breaths, deliver a second set of 30, and give two breaths again.
What seemed to be hours later, my co-worker showed up with the AED and asked if I was ready to switch. He too had been trained recently. He took over compressions and breaths while I opened the AED.
The first thing I did was turn it on. My thoughts drifted back to my friend while I waited for a response from the AED. I was reawakened with the words, “Shock indicated. Charging!” The rest, as they say, is history.
Now two months later, my friend and I recently finished another morning roundtable, both of us thankful we have another day.
In a medical situation, it is always best to err on what is best for the health of the individual. It is said that often the first symptom of a heart attack is denial.
Luckily, in just the past month here at Hill, there have been at least two successful outcomes for victims in cardiac distress.
In both cases, CPR was administered immediately and an AED employed. Anyone can use an AED.
Although there are people trained in buildings where AEDs are located, this in no way should dissuade others from getting involved.
AED’s are simple to use and once turned on, will provide the instructions necessary for a positive intervention.
Contact your organization training manager for eligibility requirements.