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Firefighter paramedics in North Haven recognized for saving patient in cardiac arrest

Paramedics recognized for saving patient in cardiac arrest
Updated: Jun. 17, 2022 at 6:15 PM EDT
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NORTH HAVEN, CT (WFSB) - Two firefighters were recognized for saving a patient from a deadly, but common scenario where the odds of survival were low.

It’s one thing to have a heart attack. It’s another to have full blown cardiac arrest.

“We arrived on scene, found our patient unresponsive with CPR in progress,” said William Berrey, firefighter paramedic.

“We put the put the patient on a cardiac monitor and found that they were in a lethal rhythm,” said Jeffrey Pranger, firefighter paramedic.

On June 7, North Haven firefighter paramedics Berrey and Pranger rolled up to a health clinic knowing time was ticking fast.

“When that happens there’s no profusion, blood is not flowing where it should,” Berrey explained.

A picture of the patient’s heart rhythm showed exactly when the shock brought him back.

Both first responders said the clinic’s doctor performing “bystander CPR” helped keep the man close enough to the brink of revival.

“In just a couple of seconds, we wheeled him outside, he took his mask off and talked to me which is amazing,” Berrey said. “I’ve never had that happen before.”

The patient, who didn’t want to talk on camera, was discharged from the hospital just days later.

“It’s a very small percentage of the time that that happens,” Berrey said.

The American Heart Association estimates that less than 8 percent of patients survive cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting.

It said 70 percent of Americans either don’t know CPR or their training has lapsed.

Those are two statistics that don’t mix well when blood isn’t flowing to the brain.

“That’s one of the first places where permanent damage starts to happen. And for that reason, a lot of cardiac arrests don’t go as well as they could go, because early recognition isn’t in the picture,” Berrey said.

“A lot of people are apprehensive,” Pranger said. “They’re scared.”

While patients and bystanders wait for help to arrive, both Berrey and Pranger said quick bystander CPR can make all the difference between losing a loved one to cardiac arrest and raising that 8 percent survival statistic a little higher.

“Even if it’s hands-only CPR,” Pranger said. “Because they have found that even though it’s hands-only CPR, it’s way more effective than nothing at all.”