Read Their Personal Stories
© The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust
A new South Dakota Department of Health video promotes the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) through sharing the story of Alan Forbragd, whose life was saved after he collapsed during a cardiac arrest in his home in Clark, South Dakota.
The video details a 911 dispatcher’s guidance talking Alan’s wife, Marilyn, through providing CPR, a Clark police officer’s use of an AED to provide a shock and continue CPR, and Clark paramedics administering a LUCAS device to continue mechanical chest compressions.
In November 2019, the Helmsley Charitable Trust provided a $3.6 million grant to the state of South Dakota for 1,200 AEDs for every law enforcement vehicle in the state. Walter Panzirer, a Helmsley Trustee, said it’s imperative to equip officers with this life-saving equipment because they’re often first on scene to medical emergencies, especially in rural areas.
“All these systems work together,” Panzirer said. “And when they all work together well, there’s a good chance that a person will survive this horrible event.”
Don Fraser, 78, of Maple Grove, MN, was an avid golfer and vintage car restorer. He still is today due to an AED and a quick acting rescuer. On an August afternoon last year, Don was playing golf at the Monticello Country Club. He had not been feeling well. He wasn’t having chest pain and he wasn’t short of breath. He had an extremely anxious feeling and just couldn’t settle down. He was scared. Not knowing what to do, he called his son who called 911.
Minutes later, Don suddenly stopped talking, became unconscious and turned blue. He had stopped breathing. A quick thinking rescuer hooked up a nearby AED. The rescuer had been AED trained and recognized Don’s life threatening condition. Once the AED pads were placed on Don’s chest, the AED analyzed Don’s heart rhythm. It was recognized as a lethal arrhythmia and the AED immediately self-charged to shock Don’s heart.
Once the AED was charged, the AED told the rescuer to push the shock button delivering the shock. The first shock was not successful and the AED immediately repeated the procedure and the rescuer delivered the second shock.
A few seconds later, after the second shock, Don began breathing and his skin color returned to normal. Don soon regained consciousness and immediately started questioning the rescuer of what had just happened. Don knew something serious had just happened to him, but he wasn’t sure how to explain it.
The paramedics told Don that his heart had stopped beating. The AED and rescuer saved his life. Don was transported to the hospital. Cardiologists diagnosed Don as having a heart attack, and placed a stent in one of his coronary arteries. Don has lived a normal life ever since the incident. Thanks to an AED and a trained rescuer, Don continued to restore vintage cars this past winter and is looking forward to golfing this summer.
Don’s story is not unusual. He was resuscitated because his heart was shocked with an AED immediately. AEDs work and should be available where ever you see a fire extinguisher.
Las Vegas security officer saves two lives in less than one year!
U.S. Air Force retiree Jim Alexander works as a security officer at Stardust Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. In less than one year, Alexander saved the lives of two casino guests: one in September 1997 and another in August 1998. In each case, Alexander used the LIFEPAK 500 AED to restart the person’s heart.
As Alexander explains, “Our local medics get to our casinos quickly, but the buildings are so large and crowded sometimes it takes too long to actually reach the patient.” Instead, Alexander’s employer, Boyd Gaming Corp. installed AEDs in each of its seven casinos.
One shock is sometimes all it takes to restart a heart.
Alexander, one of many Boyd employees trained on the AEDs, recalls the latest incident, “We got a call that one of our guests had collapsed during a ballroom dancing contest. The man was unconscious and not breathing and bystanders had begun CPR; we immediately hooked him up to the AED, which analyzed his heart and recommended a shock. That was all it took. Before we knew it he was awake.”
“I should finish the story by saying he got up and finished the contest, but that would be a bit of an exaggeration,” Alexander jokes. “At least we got him feeling good enough to argue with the paramedics about going to the hospital.”
“No one likes to think bad things will happen to them, but you never know… .Having AEDs at our casinos has elevated the standard of what’s expected at other facilities.”
Jim Alexander, security officer and AED user
On July 17, 2004, a coincidence at the Minneapolis- St. Paul International Airport turned into a dramatic, lifesaving event. The twist of fate involved two women: Mary May, a San Francisco Bay-area resident, and Leslie Meyers, a clinical specialist with Medtronic, a medical technology company and the pioneer of defi brillation, a technique that administers a shock to a stopped heart to restore the heartbeat. The encounter began when May was waiting for her flight home to California. ?I felt my face getting very cold,? she says. ?After that, I don?t remember anything until more than a day later.? She had collapsed in sudden cardiac arrest, in which the heart beats erratically and then stops. The condition is usually fatal. At the same time, Meyers was also headed home to the Bay area on the same flight as May. As Meyers walked up to the gate, she saw a crowd gathered around May?s slumped body, and people asking, ?Ma?am, ma?am, are you OK?? Meyers instructed onlookers to get the woman
- Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivor Donates Defibrillator to Grandson’s School after Defying the Odds at Casino
- AED saves boys life, district puts one in every school
- Allamakee Community School District Receives Donation of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and Bus First Aid Kits
- Applause for Quiet Lifesavers
- Athletic trainer uses AED save referee’s life
- Co-Workers Save Man’s Life with CPR, AED
- CPR and the use of an AED save man’s life in Toronto
- Early AED use saves young athletes’ lives
- Gomes taking steps to save players from cardiac arrest
- Heart of Gold
- Louisiana Policeman saves life with AED
- Mercy Medical Center Donates 13 AEDs to Local Schools and Organizations
- Sheriff’s deputy knows firsthand the value of defibrillators
- Still in the Game
- Student Collapses from heart condition, AED saved his life