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San Juan College employees awarded for helping save man’s life

Man suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed outside campus bookstore
From left, Diane Meyer, Dr. Toni Hopper Pendergrass, Kenny Hibner, Greg McCarty, Jeff Bourgeois and Eric Christensen stand outside San Juan College’s Bookstore with the Code Blue Awards given for the efforts to save a man’s life outside the bookstore. (Courtesy of San Juan College)

FARMINGTON – San Juan Regional Medical Center has presented San Juan College’s department of public safety and emergency medical services program with a Code Blue Award for its involvement in saving the life of a man who went into cardiac arrest.

Code Blue Awards are given to EMS first responders and others who help restart a patient’s heart during a cardiac arrest, according to a news release from San Juan Regional Medical Center. Code Blue Awards are awarded in instances when a patient was “by all accounts deceased and was brought back to life through the pre-hospital care they received.”

On Jan. 17, 2020, while waiting for his granddaughter, a man suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed outside the campus bookstore, said Laura Werbner, spokeswoman for the hospital.

Werbner said the “Chain of Survival” was immediately implemented. Chain of Survival is a metaphor that refers to the elements needed to respond effectively to emergency cardiovascular care. Those elements are: activation of emergency response, high-quality CPR, defibrillation, advanced resources, post-cardiac care and recovery.

The bookstore employees called 911 and security arrived with an automated external defibrillator and started CPR. When the call went over the scanner, one of the college EMS instructors heard the call and EMS director Diane Meyer and paramedic educator Greg McCarty went to the scene and took over CPR.

“What a resource for our community to have the training programs the college offers. San Juan Regional Medical Center and our entire community is blessed to have these programs in place at San Juan College,” said San Juan Regional Medical Center President and CEO Jeff Bourgeois.

According to the release, while the AED was deployed, the defibrillation was not needed. Instead, by the time the ambulance arrived, the man regained a pulse and was treated at the hospital, survived and is “an active member of the community.”

“This is how we like to see it,” said Eric Christensen, EMS manager at the hospital. “The first responders completed the Chain of Survival exactly. We are honored to recognize the quick action, critical thinking and selfless acts that result in a life saved.”


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