First Annual Butler County EMS Cardiac Arrest Survivor Banquet

The Point Events Center in Augusta was filled Thursday night with people who are fortunate to be alive today and those who helped save them.  The First Annual Butler County EMS Cardiac Arrest Survivors Banquet.
The event gives victims of cardiac arrest the opportunity meet and thank the first responders that helped save their life.
It’s an emotional reunion for everyone involved.
Host for the evening, Stuart Funk, EMT-P, Public Outreach/Education Director with Butler County EMS, shared that Butler EMS responded to 6,649 calls last year, with 105 being out of hospital cardiac arrests.
“We treated 80 of the patients, with 34 receiving CPR,” Funk said.
In several of the cases, immediate CPR was administered by a spouse or relative at the scene before the arrival of emergency crews.  The 911 dispatcher is many times responsible for bringing calmness to the situation and talking a person through the steps of CPR.
Eight cardiac arrest survivors were recognized, along with all the emergency personnel who were involved in the positive outcomes.
Funk stated, “Our teams tonight celebrate life and second chances.  Thank youy for being helpers and Thank you for being heroes.”
Three survivors stories were shared, along with the emotional 911 calls.
Survivor Day Radebaugh of El Dorado explained that he had been working outside on Aug. 20, 2018, a hot, humid day, when he began to feel ill and experienced cardiac arrest.
His wife Terry called 911 immediately and was instructed on CPR by the 911 dispatcher.  The 911 call revealed that the deputy and Terry took turns performing CPR waiting on the EMS crew to arrive.
“It was all seamless - from the  911 call to the moment the Sheriffi’s officer arrived, then EMS, and the care from the hospital was wonderful.  It was smooth and seemed carefully choreographed,” Terry advised.
Day asked, “Do you know how amazing that is?
His wife agreed, “After the deputy arrived, the whole calvary arrived!  People were everywhere and they were all trained in how to handle it.”
Michelle Forsberg survived cardiac arrest on Nov. 14 and her husband Shawn can take some credit for assisting.  Already trained in CPR, he was able to do chest compressions before emergency personnel arrived.
Michelle doesn’t remember much from that evening, but does know that she wasn’t feeling “right.”
“I feel great and went back to work in January.  Cardiac rehab has helped me get my confidence back,” she continued, “I’m more conscious of being grateful...I never would have thought that I would have a heart attack.  I probably ignored a lot before...I am thankful.”
Marc Chace suffered a cardiac arrest on Feb. 13, the day before Valentine’s Day last year.   He explained that he had been aware of a cholesterol problem and had been exercising more and had been working outside when he was suddenly on the ground.
His wife Terry didn’t know CPR, but  a calm 911 dispatcher on duty was able to lead her through the compressions successfully.  
“I believe that God put those talented 911 and EMS people there. My life and the life we had together was saved.  Thank you,” Marc said.
Outgoing Butler County EMS Director Chad Pore spoke briefly.
“You’re alive and that’s the reason we’re here and to honor those who chose their profession...Responding to 911 calls is not an easy job.  It’s highly stressful, the situation can be unsafe and it can be chaos, but you bring the calmness.”
Pore explained that about four or five years ago that quick, early effective CPR saves lives and that would become the focus - to make sure patients walk out the hospital.
“Get CPR started quickly, having 911 dispatchers who recognize the situation and get someone standing by to administer CPR.  By standers are key and first responders are key.”
Butler County Commissioner Marc Murphy assisted in giving out awards and the special Bradley Brown Lifesaving Award went to Paramedic Clayton Neufeld.
The award is given each year in memory of former Butler County EMS paramedic Bradley Brown, who died in 2009.
Brown’s mother, sister and brothers were present Thursday night.
All the survivor stories reflected the importance of CPR administered before medical help arrived.
The life-giving skill can be learned quickly and is offered by a number of agencies. It's something that can be practiced at anywhere at anytime. In fact, once you learn that skill, you can even train your loved ones without having to take them to an event. You can Google it. YouTube it. It’s an invaluable skill for everyone.