TRUMBULL — Last month, a 36-year-old man walked out of the hospital and returned home with a good chance of enjoying many more years with his family. Not a bad outcome for someone who nearly died a week earlier.

“We got the call back in September of a 36-year-old male in cardiac arrest,” EMS Chief Leigh Goodman said. “To see him leave the hospital in good condition a week later, that really is the best-case scenario.”

The Trumbull EMS recently received Bridgeport Hospital’s Excellence in Pre-Hospital Care recognition for the its response to the call, which came in just after 8 a.m.

“First call of the day,” paramedic James Bieger recalled.

When Bieger arrived at the home, police were already there, and the patient was receiving CPR from a family member. But the situation still appeared grim.

“The guy wasn’t breathing, no pulse, he was totally unresponsive,” he said.

Goodman was more direct.

“He was actually dead,” she said. “At age 36, that could have been the end right there.”

Bieger prepared to administer emergency medication, while EMTs Daniel Valentine, Trevor Bellows and supervisor Sonny Ruskin, along with police officers Brian Federowicz, James Sota and Paul Coutinho took over CPR.

Since there were so many responders on scene, they were able to perform CPR in shifts.

“It was all hands on deck,” Goodman said. “We call it pit crew CPR. Get in, do the compressions as long as you can. Rotate out.”

By then, Bieger had connected the patient to a heart monitor and began using a defibrillator to administer electric shocks, one in the bedroom and a second as they wheeled the patient to the ambulance. Then, as they sped to the hospital, Bieger said the monitor showed the patient’s heart had resumed beating and he was once again breathing on his own.

It was no time to celebrate though. Goodman said it is not uncommon to revive a cardiac arrest patient, only to lose the person again. Depending on how long their brain was deprived of oxygen, the patient could also have severe long-term health problems.

In this case, though, tests later revealed the patient’s outlook was excellent.

“Hopefully, he’s around for many more years,” Goodman said.

Bieger said an outcome this positive was unusual.

“This rarely happens,” he said. But a combination of factors, including the patient’s age, his family’s quick reactions, immediate CPR, and quick response from the town’s emergency services all contributed to his recovery.

“Everything worked together,” he said.

Goodman, who teaches CPR and the use of automatic defibrillators, said the incident illustrated the importance of learning basic lifesaving skills.

“Every time I’ve ever seen a result like this, every single time, there was either a bystander that immediately started CPR or a bystander used an AED (automated emergency defibrillator),” she said.

Over the past decade, the town has installed AEDs at various locations — more than 50 in all, Goodman said. The machines are designed so untrained individuals can use them to administer treatment in seconds.

“The machine literally talks to you and tells you what to do,” she said. “I tell people to make it a scavenger hunt. Look around and see where they are around town. They’re at town hall, in supermarkets, in schools, at the mall, the library, the senior center. If you can get to one, and get it on fast enough, you can start that chain of survival.”

deng@trumbulltimes.com