When a 53-year-old Walled Lake man fell victim to a heart attack on Oct. 10, the prognosis looked grim.
He was unresponsive. He laid still, not breathing, his face ashen, and there was no trace of a pulse. Then the wailing of the sirens came to a halt in front of his home and four members of the Walled Lake Fire Department worked to revive the man using a new auto pulse device and CPR.
Thanks to those four men, the victim’s heartbeat and blood pressure were restored and he was whisked away to DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital in Commerce Township, where he later recovered.
The bravery and diligence of that team of firefighters were recognized by Walled Fire Chief Ken Van Sparrentak and the City Council when they awarded the four with the Clinical Save Award on Nov. 5.
“We are proud of their efforts,” Van Sparrentak said. “They applied the training acquired over the years and utilized this new life saving equipment to its fullest. We are also proud of their efforts they put forth every day, especially when an incident like this occurs.”
The award recipients are Fire Marshal Jim Coomer, Sergeant Karl Brown, and firefighters/EMTs John Buzynski and Don Hennessey.
“Prior to our arrival, the 911 dispatcher gave directions for CPR to a family member and the police got there early to take over,” Coomer said, adding that the auto pulse device performs automatic chest compressions, regardless of whether the victim is being moved. The department purchased the apparatus through a grant in conjunction with a colleague’s fund-raising efforts: Walled Lake firefighter Carol Leach had raised $2,600 for the device by swimming over 1 mile across the city’s namesake in 2010.
“The auto pulse device performs automatic chest compressions on patients that have no pulse and is a new tool on our ambulance. This device increases the chances of survival during cardiac arrest,” Coomer said.
The team followed cardiac arrest protocol that calls for the insertion of an oral airway device through the mouth, deploying an automatic defibrillator, and preparing the patient to be transported to a hospital.
“In an incident like this, there’s a lot going on,” Coomer said. “We train for a wide variety of emergencies and it’s a good feeling to see our training and tools work. Usually when people call 911, it’s the worst day of their life and we try and make it better. I am proud of my crew for the work they performed this day and every day.”