EMS crew honored for cardiac arrest save

The quick and effective work of Trumbull EMS and the help of bystanders saved a life recently.

EMS Chief Joseph Laucella honored members of a crew that made a cardiac arrest save a couple of months ago in a public area of town. To protect patient privacy, the EMS did not share specific details of the event.

Laucella said it was important to recognize the successes.

“We don’t take enough time to say thanks to our crews,” Laucella said at a ceremony last Tuesday. “We deal with tragedy and things that an ordinary person would have trouble dealing with every day.”

Laucella also highlighted the importance of bystanders starting chest compression before 911 arrived.

“It’s about the chain of survival,” Laucella said. “It starts with early access to 911, early CPR, defibrillation, advanced life support, and advanced care in the hospital.”

This is the second recent cardiac save for the EMS department. The EMS Commission held a similar ceremony in August, for another save.

The members honored last week include paramedic Anthony DeSimone, EMT Paul Wasserman, EMT Michael Szymanski, and EMT Michael Sereno. Members of a backup team were also recognized for their help. That team included EMTs Chris Calkins and Matthew Barksdale.

Laucella said Trumbull EMS wants to focus on encouraging the public to learn hands-only CPR. According to the American Heart Association, when a teen or adult has sudden cardiac arrest, survival depends on immediately getting CPR from someone nearby. About 89% of people who suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest die because they don’t receive immediate CPR from someone on the scene. While bystanders may feel helpless, they can learn how to administer CPR. The American Heart Association recommends pushing hard and fast in the center of a person’s chest to the beat of the disco song Stayin’ Alive. This hands-only technique is also being taught by TEMS during communitywide 15-minute training sessions in January. The sessions will be held Jan. 16 at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. The Times will post more information on the event in upcoming issues. To learn more about hands-only CPR, visit heart.org/handsonlycpr.

“This save is a great example of how the chain of survival worked,” Laucella said.