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Friends, responders recognized for CPR save



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Whitefield Fire Chief Jay Watkins presents Karen and David Rodham with “I made CPR count” pins in recognition of their actions on Dec. 4, when they quickly called 911 and administered CPR to Lewis Roy after he collapsed in their kitchen from cardiac arrest. (Photo by Melissa Grima) (click for larger version)
February 17, 2010
WHITEFIELD —EMS providers, police and private citizens were recognized on Monday night, for successfully administering life saving care to a Whitefield man whose heart had stopped. The ceremony was held at Whitefield Fire Station on Feb. 15 and the participants were each awarded an "I made CPR count" pin to recognize their accomplishment.

"A lot of education, a lot of training was put to use that day," said Whitefield Fire Chief Jay Watkins, who later explained that Mr. Roy was his first CPR save in his 16 years of experience. "The stars lined up just right."

Lewis Gooden was visiting friends on Old East Road on Dec. 4. After visiting and having a cup of tea with Karen and David Rodham, he got up to leave and suddenly collapsed, suffering from sudden cardiac arrest. Mrs. Rodham said they were all standing together so her husband was able to catch Mr. Gooden before he hit the floor and she immediately called 911. "It was seconds that he could've been out the door," she said.

The 911 operator in Laconia walked the couple through the new CPR format, keeping Mrs. Rodham calm on the phone. The operator had her count compressions out loud while Mr. Rodham actually performed the 600 chest compressions as directed. Then help started to arrive. Officer Rick Grima of the Whitefield police arrived first followed by Whitefield and Lancaster ambulances.

"Thank God for Rick, he came walking through the door right at 600," Mrs. Rodham said. Officer Grima used the AED (automated external defibrillator) from his cruiser and was able to successfully shock Mr. Gooden's heart. The officer, a former EMT himself, admitted it was the first time he'd ever had to shock anyone. "I guess you did a good job," Mr. Gooden quipped, laughing as the two men spoke before the ceremony.

Mr. Rodham applauded the efforts of both Lancaster and Whitefield EMS in saving his friend. Among the responders were experienced EMTs, teen Explorers and the Fire Chiefs themselves, all of who played a role in helping to keep Mr. Roy alive en route to the hospital. The EMS personnel honored for their efforts were, Lancaster Explorer Ben King, Lancaster and Whitefield FF/EMT-I Zina Schmidt, Whitefield Fire Lt. Terry Schmidt, Whitefield FF/EMT Peter Tibbets and Whitefield Chief Jay Watkins. Not present for the ceremony, but also participating in the life-saving effort were Lancaster Chief Randy Flynn and Lancaster Paramedic Mike Russell.

Mr. Roy said he doesn't remember any of the events of Dec. 4, but he's thankful for everyone who helped. After being transported to Weeks Medical Center in Whitefield, he was flown to Catholic Medical Center in Manchester and now sports an internal defibrillator to regulate his heart.

According to Steven Jones of the Lancaster Fire Department, sudden cardiac arrest kills 900 adults each day. Mr. Gooden was saved from being one of those 900 through the effective use of CPR and deployment of an AED. The Lancaster Fire Department will be hosting a Heartsaver CPR class on Feb. 27, at 9 a.m. those interested can call 788-3221 to register.

(In the interest of full disclosure, Melissa Grima is the wife of Officer Rick Grima.)

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