Update: Citizens take fast action in medical emergency during festival

That photo and the next one, just sent by a WSB’er who didn’t want to be identified, shows the first hint we had at the information booth of the emergency that was happening just yards away outside Cupcake Royale (previously reported toward the end of our afternoon festival coverage). Suddenly sirens pierced the ongoing buzz of festival revelry, and people rushed to clear tables from SW Alaska east of California so the Seattle Fire vehicles could get through.

We don’t know the condition of the man who suffered cardiac arrest. But we do know that if he has survived, heroic action by a bystander is no doubt the reason. A witness told us he collapsed; the bystander was soon doing CPR, as evidenced by the scanner call WSB contributor Katie Meyer heard, “citizen CPR under way.”

The call was a Medic Response, 7-per rule – enough personnel needed to make sure resuscitation can be performed. Following Medic 32 from nearby Station 32 (38th and Alaska) came Engine 32, Engine 29, and Medic 44 (an SUV-type unit with the on-duty supervisor). SFD personnel took over CPR. Festival crew and police worked to keep the scene clear, eventually putting up yellow tape – not because it was a crime scene, but because a crowd of gawkers gathered and needed to stay back. The CPR continued, and scanner traffic indicates other resuscitation means were used.

Festival crews cleared the curbside lane on the east side of the street all the way from Alaska to Oregon. The man was moved into the medic unit, where efforts continued a while longer before the crew left for the hospital, and while they were in transit. And that’s the last we heard. Two things worth noting: If there is an emergency and there is nothing you can do to help, please stand back and keep the area clear – the gawkers were way too close here. Also, consider learning CPR – you might be the bystander sometime, when someone suddenly collapses or is seriously hurt. Here’s one option we found for CPR classes in West Seattle; please let us know about any others you’re aware of, so we can add the info here.

10:47 PM: We have exchanged e-mail with the aforementioned bystander, who prefers to remain unidentified. He says he wasn’t the only citizen to jump in and help – a Cupcake Royale team member, he says, “took charge and did the mouth-to-mouth and got me going” on the chest compressions.

29 Replies to "Update: Citizens take fast action in medical emergency during festival"

  • Mike July 10, 2011 (9:32 pm)

    Hope the individual survived and is recovering. Good to hear citizens jumping in to help immediately and glad the event staff could assist the emergency crews as well.
    CPR has changed a lot since I first learned it nearly 18 years ago. For those that have never learned or need an update, take a course but also check out:

  • Ildiko Papp July 10, 2011 (11:25 pm)

    Just to let everyone know, The Cove Preschool will be holding a CPR/First Aid class Monday July 18th from 5:30-9pm.

    To sign up or have any questions, please contact Renee, the director, this week at renee at thecoveschool.com
    Or call (206) 923-COVE

    There will be childcare available, but you must RSVP sometime this week (I think by Wed the 13th). Rate $15/child. You got to know that your child will have fun. It is being held at a fun place that’s main focus is kids. :)

    Pricing for the class is as follows:
    19 – 24 people: $39 per person
    13 – 18 people: $46 per person
    9 – 12 people: $59 per person
    6 – 8 people: $65 per person
    5 people: $69 per person
    4 people: 79 per person

    Warm thoughts and wishes to the individual and his family. I know this is a scary time for them. Really hope that he will be fully recovering.

  • ellenater July 10, 2011 (11:48 pm)

    It HAS changed a lot and I am very confused. I had heard that mouth to mouth was no longer. I guess that never fully made sense. It is time to relearn it!

    Hope he’s okay.

  • Chant July 11, 2011 (9:32 am)

    I resent the gawkers comment – this is a fellow human being with family and friends that love him! I know I am not alone when I say that we “gawked” bc we were rooting for him. I was praying like I have not prayed in a long time. A CPR class is in my future.

  • wsmom July 11, 2011 (9:39 am)

    any word on how the man is doing?

  • Alki Resident July 11, 2011 (10:07 am)

    @Chant-Very well put,I feel the same way.

    • WSB July 11, 2011 (10:52 am)

      Seems unlikely that all of the 50-plus people who gathered at one point, way too close to give the fire crews adequate space, were all family and friends. Sorry if “gawking” sounded harsh – there really is no better word to use. I know it’s human nature – I am sure everyone was hoping desperately that the resuscitation efforts will succeed. Prayer is great, “rooting” is great, but I’m telling you from the perspective of having been some yards behind the crowd – and knowing that scenes like this, of which I have covered many, need space – next time you happen onto something like this (and if we are all lucky, we never will) please remember that clearing way back is crucial. Police shouldn’t have had to put up yellow tape to clear space. Once they had stabilized the patient enough to get him into the medic unit, they might have needed much MORE room to steer the gurney, etc., and every second they’re shouting MOVE BACK! adds more stress and more danger. The emergency personnel don’t need to be worrying about crowd control as well as saving a life. Within a certain radius, there are safety issues too – I am glad to hear the interest in CPR classes, which explain the various issues that arise in cases like this – the electricity used by the defibrillator, the potential of contact with a patient’s bodily fluids, and more. I’m sorry I have no new information on the man’s status … it may never be publicly available, at this point. – TR

  • newnative July 11, 2011 (10:25 am)

    Getting in the way isn’t helpful. A tape had to be used to keep people back. That energy should be kept on the actual emergency on hand.

  • anon July 11, 2011 (10:55 am)

    I’ve been praying for this person and their family since I heard about it, but I don’t need to be right there to do so.

  • kmn July 11, 2011 (11:07 am)

    I happened to be in a CPR/AED class while this was happening. It was an all day long class, but I am SO glad I took it. I can’t believe it took me this long to get certified. Such a small price to pay (time and a little $$) to be able to offer life-saving help! Took class at Seattle Red Cross.

  • mcbride July 11, 2011 (11:07 am)

    Compression-only (no mouth-to-mouth) was introduced as a concept for cultures where placing your mouth on a stranger is not done. It’s a “better than nothing” approach. Rescue Breathing is Very much a part of standard CPR.
    Medics require a minimum of 15 feet. This ensures room to work (they will arrive as a team of 3, often with a gurney and several large bags), and preserve the confidentiality of the patient’s medical condition, status, history, medications, etc. In addition to the 15′, they will also require clear ingress/egress to the patient.

  • kmn July 11, 2011 (11:12 am)

    For CPR (I JUST learned this yesterday at the Seattle Red Cross class!!!!)…. 30 chest compression, 2 ventilations, repeat. Chest compressions should be done at a pace of 100 compressions/min. Count “one-and-two-and”, so on. The depth of the compressions shold be AT LEAST 2″, so yes, you should be using some force. Once you start CPR you CANNOT stop until other rescuer is able to take over.

  • AJP July 11, 2011 (1:06 pm)

    Wow, kudos to those who stepped in to help! I hope the man made it. If you have a group of people who would like take the class and you have the space, I’m a contract CPR/FA/AED instructor and would be happy to teach a class for your group. King County has the highest rate of trained lay responders (that’s everyone that got involved before the EMTs showed up) of anywhere else in the nation! You can email me at aliciaevery at gmail.

  • bianca harding July 11, 2011 (1:11 pm)

    I am friends with the man and his family. He suffered a massive heart attack. He made it through the night and is in stable condition today. The doctors are optimistic about his condition. His wife is keeping us up to date. My thanks to everyone who helped out.

  • wsmom July 11, 2011 (1:32 pm)

    Thanks for the update Bianca, I’ve been thinking about this man and his family all day hoping that he made it through okay.

  • Liz Nelson July 11, 2011 (1:35 pm)

    We are very happy to hear he is stable. My teenage daughter was in cupcake royale when it happened but was able to get out of the way before medics arrived. She has not had CPR classes, and I have not been certified for years, but I think we will be enrolling as a family after this. Both of my daughters have been very concerned about his condition and checking the blog often to see if there was any news. It was very scary for them to witness and is something they will not forget. Thank you Bianca for giving an update. Our prayers go out to him for a full recovery and his family during this difficult time.

  • mcbride July 11, 2011 (1:37 pm)

    Minor corrections/additions (to an otherwise excellent summary). Depth of compression varies by age/size of patient. Adult (12+ years or 80+ pounds) is 1.5-2″ depth. Child (1-12 years or up to 80 pounds) is 1-1.5″. Infant (0-12 months) is .5-1″. Depth is at most, not at least. Weight trumps age. Ages/sizes are approximations made by the provider, use your best judgment. 30 compressions/2 breaths applies to all.
    Conditions for the cessation of CPR are: 1) You become physically exhausted and cannot continue. 2) The scene becomes unsafe. 3) The patient recovers. 4) You transfer care to a trained provider of equal or greater skill. 5) EMS arrives and takes over. 6) An AED device becomes available.
    Disclaimer – the above information is provided for educational/discussion purposes Only. It does not convey technique and is not a substitute for nor does it convey training. Please get certified, it’s good for you.

  • kmn July 11, 2011 (3:33 pm)

    mcbride… the guidelines just changed this year for compression depths. Infant is 1.5″ deep, child is 1.5″-2.0″ deep and adult is at least 2″ deep as per the American Red Cross. The rest of what you described matches what is in the CPR/AED curriculum I was taught yesterday.

  • mcbride July 11, 2011 (4:38 pm)

    See there? Training.
    Thanks kmn, time for the refresher course…

  • Autumn July 11, 2011 (4:40 pm)

    We had just eaten in a table (near where the guy is running in the first photo) earlier that day. Great news to know the man is doing ok. You alway hope there are good citizens nearby if it should ever happen to you. Time is crucial and lookie loos need to give the medics room. Pray away and let them do their job. If it were you, you would want the same.

  • Ethan Black July 11, 2011 (9:13 pm)

    For citizen CPR, compressions are not done UNLESS cardiac arrest is secondary to respiratory arrest, particularly an obstructed airway. Unless Seattle is doing something different from the rest of King County’s Medic 1 program, here is what you will get from 9-1-1 in the field:
    -Patient flat to back
    -Bare chest
    -Heel of hand to center of the chest between the nipples, place your other hand on top
    -Push down firmly approx 2 inches, 50 times. Compressions should be faster than one per second, almost two per second.
    -Check patient status, repeat if needed until first responders arrive

    From what I understand, the lack of wanting to do mouth to mouth on a stranger was part of the change. More importantly, studies were done that show most victims of a witnessed collapse have enough oxygenated blood to survive until medics arrive, as long as their blood is circulated via chest compressions.

    Good job to everyone involved and yes, everyone take a class!

  • Jasperblu July 12, 2011 (7:20 am)

    As someone who has long been certified for CPR/First Aid, and who has had to personally stay with a person in distress while waiting for EMT/Fire to arrive, I absolutely agree with the term GAWKER for people who stand too close to a scene. If you can’t help, get out of the way. Period. Standing around staring, praying, etc. is better done from a distance. If you’re so concerned, dial 911 to make sure help is on the way. Otherwise, move on. Those precious extra minutes spent trying to get you out of the way could mean serious trouble or even death for the victim receiving first aid.
    As a PS this also goes for getting out of the way on roadways when you hear or see an emergency vehicle approaching. PULL OVER. What if that very ambulance or fire truck was trying to get to your loved one?
    It may be human nature to gawk and be hypnotized by someone else’s misfortune, but you can choose to let common sense take over and move away. However pure or noble you may think your intentions to stare are, that’s no excuse.

  • ac July 12, 2011 (9:33 am)

    Bottom line…start doing chest compressions. Working in the medical field and taking CPR once a year, I have learned that the chest compressions are vital, not so much the breath. I believe that even if trained in CPR, during a true crisis, people may forget the exact ratios, pressure depth, etc…Better to just get the chest compressions going…????

  • Andrine July 12, 2011 (7:25 pm)

    Another update: This is a very dear longtime friend of mine. He’s still improving. Big heart attack, big damage. AMAZING response at the site when it happened. And a wonderful medical team at the hospital. My heartfelt thanks to every single one of you who helped him and his wife, including each of the people who cleared the tables and chairs so fast so that the aid unit could get through. Every one of you helpd to save his life and we’re all so grateful to you. Thank you. <3

  • Gary July 12, 2011 (7:52 pm)

    Thia man is my brother, and I want to thank those who responded so quickly. He’s alive because of you!

  • Sue July 13, 2011 (12:02 am)

    Many thanks to all who responded Sunday and helped my brother and his wife. Thanks to you, he is alive.

    I love all the CPR discussion. If you don’t know it, please learn. Also important is to recognize the possible signs of a heart attack. Don’t ignore them! If you aren’t feeling well, please consider the possibility it may be a heart attack and call 9-1-1.

  • Dan Allen July 13, 2011 (7:55 pm)

    The patient is my brother in law. Thank you for getting involved. He is a really great person, one of the kindest people you would ever want to meet. Thanks again.

  • DJ July 14, 2011 (12:30 pm)

    Here is a link to the AHA “hands only CPR” website.


  • Dave July 26, 2011 (8:15 pm)

    Thanks everyone for your prayers & supportive thoughts. I’m very much on the mend now, though still in the hospital. While I appreciate people who want to know what the commotion is, I would be the first person to tell people to get out of the way so the medics can at least give me a fighting chance. My wife says that there were literally seconds to spare or I would not be here today. Please, if you see emergency personnel & vehicles, let them do their job without added interference. Thanks to all the great W Seattlelites who saved my life.

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