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It can happen to anyone... A Paramedic's Story


A glimpse inside a paramedic's response to a cardiac arrest call
By, Adrianne Pohar, Paramedic, Medic 91

It was November 21, 2012. I was having a good day at work. A few students from St. Lucia had joined me for the day and were excited to witness our advancements in pre-hospital medicine. In St. Lucia, treatment in a pre-hospital setting is limited and the need for advancement exists.

We were standing outside Chester County Hospital by the medic unit when my pager went off. It was a 911 call for a cardiac arrest. This would be the first cardiac arrest call that the students would experience on their visit to the States. For me, I couldn't even tell you how many cardiac arrest calls I have responded to - except to say that it has been too many.

We arrived on scene. The patient was a 36 year-old male. After rushing into the home and to the second floor, I encountered a firefighter on his knees administering Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) to the young man.

I thought to myself, "Wow, they got here fast!"

As I looked down, I realized that I recognized the firefighter doing CPR. He looked up at me and said, "It's Goody". After a moment I realized what he had said.

It was one of our own. It was a friend, a firefighter, one of our brothers in service.

We desperately worked together with an amazing display of teamwork to restore Goody's heart rate. But when we arrived at the hospital we learned it is too late.

It's not happening this time...

The next thing I heard was "Time of death is..."

As I recount this day in the field, my eyes fill with tears. I know, if only Goody would have asked for help, if only he would have spoken up when he started to have the symptoms, he could have been saved. He could have been one of those success stories.

Goody was a selfless person who ran into buildings when everyone else was running out. He was a hero to many in our community as a captain at Good Will Fire Company in West Chester. I only wish, that day, that we could have been his hero.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in firefighters. And, it is the leading cause of death in America. Everyone needs to be aware of the early signs of a heart attack. Don't ignore the signs and symptoms. And if you experience them, call 911 immediately! One quick call, and a timely response to your symptoms can save your life.

Last Updated: 2/11/2014