Murrysville Medic One recognition emphasizes importance of learning CPR, AED
Because of quick thinking, teamwork and good training, three people who suffered sudden heart attacks in 2017 will get to enjoy the holidays this year.
"There was a lady who grabbed my apartment keys, ran up and found my emergency call card," said Bill Sutherland, 85, who suffered a heart attack and collapsed on the treadmill in February at Redstone Highlands in Murrysville. "Without her, my family wouldn't have even known what was happening."
Two Redstone staff members administered CPR and a shock from an automated external defibrillator.
After two more shocks from Murrysville Medic One first responders, Sutherland was taken to UPMC East and began the path to recovery.
Medic One responders along with police, firefighters, citizens and those who survived their ordeals were recognized Monday by the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association.
Cheryl Rickens, with the group's Western PA Chapter, said those first steps — knowledge of CPR and proper use of the AED — are crucial in saving a person's life.
"If that first step doesn't happen, we aren't here celebrating a sudden cardiac arrest survivor," she said.
Michael Klingensmith, 16, knows that all too well.
On Oct. 3, Michael was in the car with his father Bob when Bob slumped over at the wheel, in the opening throes of a heart attack.
His teenage son managed to get the car stopped and yell for help.
"The only thing I can say is 'thank you' to everyone who's here," Bob Klingensmith said. "The only reason I'm here today is because you were there that day."
Rickens also recognized the team that saved the life of a 12-year-old girl who collapsed this fall at a Franklin Regional football game and was taken by medical helicopter to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.
"Because of teamwork, realizing the needs of the patient and getting things moving, there is a 12-year-old girl who's with her family today," Rickens said. "Even though she has a long road to recovery, she can be here for the holidays."
"I have a wife and three kids, and I get to be around and see them grow up," he said. "Nobody really thinks about it, but I'm kind of in awe of how you all acted."
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.