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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

...and another save

I changed the type to bold in a few interesting places in the story below.
  1. First, it might have been true that he didn't feel dizzy, but it's also possible that he doesn't remember.
  2. CPR machines are becoming more and more popular. They do a good job, if you can manually continue CPR while the patient is being put on the machine. Interrupting CPR results in lack of blood flow to the brain for whatever time you stop PLUS the time it takes for the first 3 to 8 compressions to get the brain perfusion restored.

Here's the story:
PORT CHESTER — Jose Estrada could have died on a track at Port Chester High School this summer if White Plains native David Rich and a local emergency medical services team hadn't performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him.

"God protected me and put all these pieces together to keep me alive," Estrada said. "All these people and equipment came together to keep me alive."

Estrada, 56, a married father of two in Port Chester, was getting ready to run June 15 when he suddenly collapsed.

"I walked maybe 200 meters and everything went black," he said. "I didn't have any symptoms and didn't feel dizzy or any pain."

Rich, a Norwalk, Conn., resident who grew up in White Plains, was at the high school getting ready for a softball game by throwing a ball around with his son. All of a sudden, he heard screaming coming from the track.

"I looked over and saw someone face down in the grass area," Rich said. "I ran over there, hurdled over the fence and saw he wasn't breathing and had no circulation. I turned him over, did my quick assessment, and basically I was on autopilot. With no CPR, he would unfortunately not have made it."

Rich told someone to call 911 and continued to perform CPR until a Port Chester-Rye-Rye Brook EMS team arrived.

Rich, who teaches health at Westchester Community College in Valhalla, said it's not the first time he's had to perform CPR on someone.

"I'm CPR-certified, and it seems like every time I have to renew my certification, I have to use my skills," he said. "The running joke is, 'Stay away from Dave when he gets recertified because he might have to use it on you.'"

EMS Capt. Jeffrey Casas said Estrada was suffering from ventricular fibrillation, when the heart beats chaotically and will collapse if not addressed immediately.

"It's considered a lethal rhythm, and essentially, he was dead," Casas said.

The EMS crew took over from Rich and did CPR using a new machine the department bought that does chest compressions on its own. They rushed Estrada to Greenwich (Conn.) Hospital where doctors put him in a medically-induced coma. He woke up two days later.

"I woke up and asked, 'What am I doing here?'" he said. "I didn't know what happened, but quickly, I learned that God protected me."

Estrada is an active runner and said doctors have deemed him in good health. He said doctors haven't been able to explain what triggered his heart problem that day.

After the incident, Estrada, who works as a plant manager for a manufacturing company in Blauvelt, found Rich and thanked him by attending one of his softball games.

"I'm sure it took him a lot of courage to contact me because he doesn't owe me anything," Rich said. "It felt good, though, to get closure; to really know that he's doing well."

He said helping save Estrada's life reminds him "how precious life is" and how everyone should get basic emergency training.