While this story does not have a happy ending, it definitely inspires hope for cardiac arrest patients. This past October, Station 65 firefighters responded to the Raleigh Hills Fred Meyer store on a cardiac arrest call. A patient had gone into cardiac arrest outside the food doors on the sidewalk and was unconscious and not breathing.
When the crew arrived, they found Pharmacy Manager Stephanie Gaston and Assistant Food Manager Elizabeth Aasen performing CPR on the patient and with an AED (automated external defibrillator) at his side.
Firefighters took over care of the patient, who regained consciousness and was transported to an area hospital. Firefighters learned that the man survived through the night, long enough to spend his final hours surrounded by his family, before passing away the next day.
Captain James Whyte was determined that the story would not end here. Many times, emergency calls with positive outcomes have resulted in an opportunity for first responders and survivors to reunite. While this would not be the case with this call, a reunion was still very appropriate.
On December 1st, Captain James Whyte and Firefighters Jesse Peters, Tim Buchanan, and Brad Blocker returned to the Raleigh Hills Fred Meyer Pharmacy to thank Stephanie and Elizabeth for their quick action and compassionate courage to help this patient during his cardiac emergency.
“We wanted to make sure that Stephanie and Elizabeth knew that they did everything right, and we wish there were more people like them – trained, ready, and willing to help during a cardiac emergency,” said Whyte.
Stephanie relayed that this was this the first time she has had an opportunity to use her CPR training. She confirmed that all Fred Meyer stores have an AED at the customer service counter for emergencies such as this and Fred Meyer offers CPR training to all employees (it is required for some) so that at any given time there are employees on site who are trained to respond to a cardiac emergency.
As firefighters stood with Stephanie in the store that afternoon, decked out in holiday décor while shoppers hustled and bustled, they remarked that this was a reunion of hope. Hope that more people like Stephanie will get certified in CPR or learn Hands-Only CPR and become part of the cardiac chain of survival in our community.
Why learn Hands-Only CPR? Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or even triple a victim’s chance of survival, but only 32 percent of cardiac arrest victims get CPR from a bystander. TVF&R firefighters know that this is a statistic we can improve upon.
Thank you Stephanie and Elizabeth for allowing TVF&R to share your message of hope during this holiday season and our condolences are with the family of our patient during this difficult time.
About Hands-Only CPR
In 2008, the American Heart Association announced that performing Hands-Only CPR (no rescue breaths) can help sustain an adult in cardiac arrest until paramedics arrive. Research shows that Hands-Only CPR keeps oxygenated blood flowing to the brain, heart, and other organs until emergency responders arrive and take over (www.handsonlycpr.org). Individuals who wish to take a CPR class, however, may sign up by visiting TVFR’s website at www.tvfr.com.
PulsePoint is a free CPR smartphone app now available in Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue’s (TVF&R) 220 square mile service area. The PulsePoint app enables subscribers who have indicated they are CPR trained to be alerted to a cardiac arrest event simultaneously with TVF&R’s firefighters EMT/paramedics. Download the app for FREE at the Apple App Store or in Android Apps on Google Play.