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Press Release
February 13, 2008
Guardsmen and the right equipment save a life at the Anderson Readiness Center
 
It was a case of being in the worst of conditions, but in the right place at the right time. A man, apparently suffering a heart attack, collapsed to the floor at the Anderson Readiness Center in Salem today just before noon on Feb. 13, and soldiers of the Oregon Army National Guard saved his life.

Capt. Daryl Ottoway, the Occupational Health Nurse for the ORARNG, watched the man fall, and he immediately sprang into action. To the man's good fortune, he was outside the ORARNG Medical Command.

Suspecting a heart attack, Ottoway called out to fellow workers to bring an automated external defibrillator – or AED – as he checked for breathing and a pulse.

"The AED was on the wall outside my office," said Staff Sgt. Richard Powell, a trained and experienced Army medic. He grabbed the gear and rushed to the scene. Powell had just returned on Feb. 5 from a refresher course that made his training with the AED current.

Ottoway had already begun CPR when Powell and another soldier arrived at his side with the equipment – the AED and a medical kit with an oxygen tank. Sgt. 1st Class Bill Lowe, the health systems manager for the ORARNG ripped the man's shirt open as Powell prepared the AED.

Several other soldiers who heard the commotion called 9-1-1.

Ottoway confirmed the man had stopped breathing, so the team followed the instructions on the AED and shocked him to restart his heart. The AED analyzed the victim, and Ottoway noted the man started breathing shallowly.

Ottoway continued to monitor the patient as Lowe and Powell set up an oxygen bottle taken from the medical kit. Powell noted that preparation for a worst-case situation helped the soldiers deal with what could otherwise have been a deadly situation.

"We had the right equipment at right time," said Powell. "There are lots of nice things to have, but for that man at that time the AED is what he needed to save his life."

Powell said Army medical technicians are required to have a high degree of training that includes use of an AED.

As the three soldiers tended to their patient, Capt. Sharel Paradis and 1st Sgt. Donna Adams turned their attention to the man's wife who had observed everything. She was distraught, and Paradis and Adams assured her the other soldiers would take care of her husband.

When firefighters arrived Ottaway, Lowe, and Powell transferred responsibility for the patient to them, but as they did so the man stopped breathing again.

Ottoway alerted the firefighters who administered another shock. The man started breathing again, and with the oxygen he began to become more coherent and responsive. Firefighters then put the man on a stretcher and transported him to Salem Hospital.

"In my 35 years of doing this I've never had anyone whose heart and breathing have stopped live," said Powell. "It was like a miracle. I'd never seen it before…he'd come back."

Meanwhile, Adams helped the man's wife call family and friends to update them.

Photo:

080213-A-6375H-001.jpg  Staff Sgt. Richard Powell helped two fellow soldiers save a man's life today with the automated external defibrillator. Their quick reaction and the right equipment revived a man believed to have suffered a heart attack. The soldiers used the AED to shock the victim's heart back into rhythm, then the machine and the soldiers monitored his condition until firefighters from the Salem Fire Department were able to transport him to Salem Hospital.
 
 
Contact Info:
 
Maj. Michael S. Braibish
State Public Affairs Officer, Oregon Military Department
W: 503-584-3886
C: 503-932-5805