By Uta Kuhn
On March 17, Hillsborough County employees held a meeting in the Florida Room to discuss the backflow valve issue, when suddenly one of the employees suffered a heart attack. John Bowker immediately called for help. The reaction was instantaneous. The first on the scene to perform CPR was RN Cathey Sandquist, who responded within seconds after the call for help. Also in the room at that time was Walter Drugan, a family physician from Ohio, who was available as needed to assist Cathey. Fortunately, an AED was available, which was used to help resuscitate the gentleman.
According to the National Institutes of Health, an AED (automated external defibrillator) is a portable device capable of checking the heart rhythm that can also be used to send an electric shock to the heart in an effort to restore normal rhythm. AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest, a conditions in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating.
At the first sign of trouble Pete Blair called 911, only to be informed that both ambulances from Station 28 in SCC were already committed to other emergencies, as were the ambulances from the Emergency Squad. However, an ambulance from the Ruskin fire station had just arrived back at their station from an earlier call and was able to respond, entering the Atrium Building through the kitchen of the Florida Room. The county employee was transported to Brandon Regional Hospital, and thanks to the fast thinking of the two good Samaritans in the room at the time, we are told that the employee who suffered the heart attack is recovering nicely.
Both Cathey and Walter live on North Lake, and these heroes were recently acknowledged at a meeting of the North Lakes HOA. Its people like these two that make Sun City Center such a great place to live. Thanks to them, an emergency which could have had tragic consequences was avoided.