Teamwork was at its best last weekend at Rec Hall-and it wasn't just the athletes who were pulling together for a win. It was individuals who had never met before, never practiced together, but each in his or her own way was an expert and knew what to do to succeed. Strangers to each other, they automatically fell into a rhythm of cooperation that called upon the best effort they could give.
And boy, did they ever make a difference. They saved a life.
A spectator-an older local man-suffered a cardiac arrest at a Penn State wrestling meet. A bystander realized what had happened, immediately started CPR and kept it up until Cindy Bittner, the UHS Emergency Medical Technician who was on-call at the event, reached the area. Cindy joined forces with him in performing CPR and also asked if anyone else knew CPR. Another bystander volunteered and the three of them continued CPR. Cindy used an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) twice to get his heart started again. Other campus and community volunteers soon arrived and joined the effort to save this man's life-crews from University Ambulance Service, Medic 24 from Mount Nittany Medical Center and Centre Life Link (formerly Alpha Ambulance). Penn State University Police and the event staff at Rec Hall also played a role in helping the patient and his family deal with such a traumatic event.
The impromptu team succeeded. They revived him, saved his life. His doctors credit his survival to those who quickly and professionally assisted him. In fact his family reports that they were told that what happened is fatal in approximately 90% of all cases. At last report (four days after the potentially catastrophic event) he was doing well and nearing discharge after surgery to implant a pacemaker.
Teamwork at its best . . .each individual doing his or her part . . . pulling together to make a difference . . . a big difference.
Written by Ellen Nagy, Penn State University Health Services marketing director.