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Hastings firefighters recognized for rescue: Responders saved 17-year-old from cardiac arrest

Hastings firefighter/paramedics were again involved in the rescue of a cardiac arrest victim Dec. 28.

An ambulance crew was summoned to Afton Alps Ski Area for a medical emergency, but just as team members Mark Knoll, Dean Suchy and Paul Greten were arriving, they were diverted to another incident that had just happened at the bottom of the ski hill. A 17-year-old male had collapsed and gone into cardiac arrest.

Because the cardiac arrest was a higher priority than the original call, the closest ambulance was sent to respond. A second ambulance crew was sent out to the original call.

An off-duty deputy, who was skiing with his family at the time the teen went into cardiac arrest, quickly began CPR. An employee of Afton ran to get the AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) and returned with it. The two men applied the device and delivered a shock, bringing the Wilson, Wis., man’s heart out of cardiac arrest and into a rhythm that was producing a pulse. At about the same time, Knoll, Suchy and Greten arrived at the patient’s side and assumed care. They continued life-saving measures while transporting the patient to St. Paul Regions’ ER.

The incident is a prime example of how early CPR, early defibrillation and quick response by the ambulance staff played an important role in saving the life of this young man, said Fire and EMS Director Mike Schutt. According to the American Heart Association, someone affected by a cardiac emergency is two to three times more likely to survive if a bystander administers CPR immediately.

The American Heart Association advises those responding to cardiac emergencies use the “Chain of Survival.” The chain begins with immediate recognition of symptoms and activation of an emergency response, and progresses into early CPR, rapid defibrillation, effective advanced life support and integrated post-cardiac arrest care.

On Tuesday, a press conference was held at St. Paul Regions Hospital, thanking the two men at Afton and the Hastings ambulance crew. The young man and his parents were present and gave a very emotional thank you to these five people who saved his life.