Capital Region, N.Y. (News10)-There’s renewed interest in learning about CPR and AEDs after the remarkable recovery of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin. While there’s been no definitive cause given for his sudden cardiac arrest, emergency care experts are crediting lifesaving CPR for a positive outcome. News10’s Anya Tucker shares the story of one woman for whom this is true as well.
In 2009, Michelle Haller was playing on a mom’s soccer league, when she suddenly collapsed. “I don’t have any memory, but from what people report, I collapsed on the soccer field,” said Michelle. Players on the opposing team ran over and began CPR. They continued until Colonie first responders, including Robbie MacCue, arrived minutes later. “I remember working that cardiac arrest with my team of paramedics and EMTs for 20 minutes while we kept defibrillating and giving medications and other treatments to get her heart rhythm, and her heartbeat beating again,” said MacCue, the Assistant Chief for the Colonie EMS Department. He is also a volunteer advocate for the American Heart Association.
Thanks to those coordinated efforts on the field that day, Michelle, the mother of three children was able to walk out of the hospital 10 days later and go home to her family. “I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to experience those moments with them,” she said. “From the daily waking up in the morning and saying ‘hello’. To, you know, big life events. So, I’m very grateful.”
MacCue advises that as soon as you see someone collapse, the first thing you need to do is call 911. And then, “Start compressions on the center of the chest. Almost 2 per second. That will help blood flow continue to the brain. Because without that, the chance of survival goes down 10 percent every minute that they don’t get CPR,” he added. He showed News10’s Anya Tucker just how easy it is to use a defibrillator or Automated External Defibrillator (AED).
According to the American Heart Association, the biggest problem isn’t using the machine, but knowing where one is located. The organization says 51 percent of employees do not know where their workplace AED is located. MacCue says it’s one of the first thing he asks when giving talks or while on the job. “Often, I will even ask people, ‘You guys have an AED in this building?’” The machines cost upwards of $1,000. However, businesses can utilize a $500 tax credit to help lower the cost.
As for Michelle, she says she is forever grateful for the two women on the soccer field who knew CPR. “If I wasn’t in a place where someone knew CPR, I wouldn’t be here today. The more people who know CPR, the more the odds of somebody surviving are so much greater.” In the years following Michelle’s medical event, she and MacCue have been educating the public and even helped pass a law mandating all New York State high schoolers complete a CPR/AED course.
Want to know more? Click here to learn how to save a life in 2 minutes.