Friday, June 15, 2007

Lucky

Apparently it was just chance that you were there that morning. The family had tickets, and you decided to go along with them.

That was lucky.

You were seated very close to a first aid post, where a paramedic and a number of medical volunteers were stationed.

That was lucky.

During the event, your family saw you have difficulty, and quickly called for help.

That was lucky.

The event staff went to the first aid room. One of the medical volunteers quickly went to check, meeting a member of the family on the way, and was swiftly directed to where you lay.

That was lucky.

The medical volunteer found you laying on the concrete floor between the seats and noted your agonal breathing, cyanotic lips, pale and diaphoretic complexion. Your carotid pulse was checked, and found to be absent. The volunteer used their radio to call for the paramedic on duty, who confirmed that they were already on their way with their equipment.

That was lucky.

At the same time, a bystander identified themselves as a nurse and asked if they should start chest compressions. The medical volunteer checked for a pulse one more time and told the nurse to start. Almost straight away, the paramedic arrived and started setting up a defibrillator. The medical volunteer made sure an ambulance had been called.

That was lucky.

You had defibrillator pads stuck to your chest. The nurse was beating your heart for you by compressing your chest. The medical volunteer was breathing for you by 'bagging' you between compressions, delivering oxygen into your lungs. The paramedic periodically called for a pause in CPR to analyse your heart rhythm. You were shocked a number of times. During all of this, the medical volunteer removed your glasses and placed them into the top pocket of their shirt, in order to get a better seal on your mouth and nose with the mask. After a short while, the nurse stated that she was tired and needed someone to take over. A member of staff who had previous experience with CPR took over seamlessly.

That was lucky.

An EMS team arrived, along with a Fire Crew. The on duty paramedic shocked you once more, then arranged for you to be carried up out of the stairs to the waiting stretcher. More CPR was done on you as you lay there, then you were transported to the waiting ambulance. Just before you left the venue, the paramedic called for everyone to stop. The defibrillator showed that you had a heart beat, and you were breathing on your own. Before you left the venue, you were back.

That was lucky.

The stretcher was loaded into the ambulance, and the EMS crew and the paramedic went into the back and got to work. Your son was placed into the passenger seat whilst in the back, people worked to stabilise you. Soon after, the ambulance left to take you to a nearby hospital.

That was lucky.


Later on, the hospital called the first aid post and told everyone that you were sitting up in the intensive care unit, talking. Everyone who was involved was thanked for working together as a team. The ultimate reward was knowing you were okay.

All of this was because you happened to fall ill whilst being close to good cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, good defibrillation, and good access to advanced care. Perhaps luck had some part in this, but ultimately you were in the right place at the right time.


I still remember the look on your sons face and I handed your glasses to him whilst he sat in the ambulance, a tear running down his cheek as the full weight of what happened hit him.
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