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Off-duty medics help boy, runner in distress


Two off-the-job Austin paramedics helped people going into cardiac arrest last week, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services officials said.

Medic Chance Bergstrom, was at the Party City store parking lot near Brodie Lane and Lovegrass Lane in Sunset Valley, when he saw a woman screaming for help next to a boy who was lying down face down on the pavement.

Bergstrom, a 2-year veteran with EMS, jumped out of his car and performed CPR on the 14-year-old boy who was under Off-duty medics help boy, runner in distress photocardiac arrest, officials said.

The medic continued CPR until officers with the Sunset Valley Police arrived with an automated external defibrillator and the boy’s pulse returned, officials said.

The boy was taken to Dell Children’s Medical Center where he’s continuing his recovery, officials said.

On Sunday, Capt. Mark Hawkins was about to go home after his shift when he helped a runner in distress.

After hearing voices just outside the EMS station at 2307-A Foster Avenue in West Austin, he walked out and saw a man about 50 yards away on the ground.

Off-duty medics help boy, runner in distress photoThe 50-year-old man had been running the Run for the Water race when he collapsed as he was going into cardiac arrest, officials said.

Hawkins, a 19-year veteran with EMS, along with a bystander and an off-duty firefighter performed CPR for several minutes before firefighters arrived with an automated external defibrillator.

The man regained consciousness after one shock and was taken to a local hospital, EMS said.

In the past months, two other off-duty medics rescued children in distress. Medics helped a 15-year-old boy who went into cardiac arrest while at a pool and an another boy who was submerged in a New Braunfels river.

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Education key to surviving sudden cardiac arrest

By Alex Flippin FOX 26 KNPN

Having your heart suddenly and unexpectedly stop isn’t a concern for most young athletes. But those familiar with sudden cardiac arrest know it often strikes those in the prime of their life and in peak physical condition, just as it did Omar Carter in 2013.

“I was in a semi-professional league in Charlotte, North Carolina, and I had a cardiac arrest,” Mr. Carter said. “My heart stopped for 13 minutes.”

Mr. Carter was just 25 years old when he became frighteningly familiar with the term sudden cardiac arrest, and he survived, thanks to some quick action and a bit of luck.

“It was Kellie Thomas, an ICU cardiac nurse, that just so happened to come to the game at the last minute. She did compressions for 13 minutes and EMS showed up fairly quickly and I slipped into a coma for about three days,” Mr. Carter said.

Through his foundation, Mr. Carter now works to educate athletes and their families about cardiac health and raise awareness about a device that’s now literally a part of him. A device cardiologist Dr. Rohit Mehta said can save lives.

“The device actually monitors his heart rhythm continuously,” Dr. Mehta said. “If he does have a repeat episode of this very abnormal heart rhythm, then the device would recognize it and shock him and give him the life-saving shock he (needs). In his situation, the first time it happened in 13 minutes. The device would now recognize this and shock him in a fraction of that time.”

Dr. Mehta, a cardiologist at Carolinas HealthCare System’s Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute in Charlotte, said sudden cardiac arrest often makes headlines when it strikes young athletes during sporting events, but he said it can strike anyone at any time.

He suggests anyone with out-of-the-ordinary cardiac events should see a doctor. And for those caught off guard like Mr. Carter, Dr. Mehta said the key to survival is education.

“A big part of this is being an active participant in the chain of survival. So go seek out your local American Red Cross and get trained to do CPR,” Dr. Mehta said. “The more people we have out there that are CPR trained and aware, the more that folks like Omar that have this event can survive.”

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Learn to save lives with AED

CPR Training Class

Snoqualmie Fire Department will offer a class on first aid and CPR with an automated external defibrillator or AED, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12 at the fire station. 

Register by Sept. 3 for the training and learn how to help save lives during emergencies. 

The class is taught to the American Heart Association standards, covering topics such as how to respond and manage situations requiring first aid, or instances of choking or sudden cardiac arrest. The class fee is $25. 

To register, contact Liz Luizzo at or call (425) 888-1551.

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Jersey City Medical Center to offer free head, heart screenings for young athletes


Jersey City Medical Center will offer free concussion and cardiac screenings one day next month for young athletes, ensuring that kids can keep their head and hearts in the game.

The screenings will be administered Sept. 12 from 8 a.m. to noon and are being provided by the Matthew J. Morahan III Health Assessment Center for Athletes, which provides education, evaluation and assessment of sports injuries and sports-related cardiac and concussion screening.

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