When a cry went out for medics at the Dome, three young EMTs responded.
By Pam Greene
Syracuse University junior Carolyn Conley brought her books to the SU-Butler basketball game Monday, hoping to finish a paper while standing at her post in the Carrier Dome with the SU ambulance.
She never got around to her homework. Conley and two other young women saved a man's life instead.
It was shortly before 7 p.m. and the game hadn't yet begun. A Dome worker's yell split the air.
"Medics! We need medics," he shouted toward Conley, 21, and her partners, Elisse Collins, 19, and Martha Baker, 20. All three are pre-med students at SU and volunteer with the university's ambulance service.
A man had collapsed about 30 yards away from the court. The three students, all certified emergency medical technicians, scrambled their equipment together and bolted into the stands. He was in full cardiac arrest - no pulse, no breathing.
"The only conscious thought I had was, 'This guy looks really bad,'" Conley said. "Beyond that, it was a programmed response."
Two spectators were holding the man's head. The three women laid him down, and Conley attached an automatic external defibrillator to his chest. The defibrillator shocked him and his pulse came back. The man gasped.
They lost his pulse again. Another shock and it restarted.
By then, EMTs employed by the Carrier Dome had arrived and took over. Rural/Metro Medical Service transported the man to Crouse Hospital, where he was stabilized. SU's ambulance service would not release the man's name or age.
"We felt this incredible high," Baker said. "We knew we did what we were supposed to do. ... It was amazing to know that we could work together and save a life."
Baker and Collins have been EMTs since January. This was their first major call. Conley has been an EMT for a couple of years. The EMTs usually see minor injuries, such as gym injuries and twisted ankles.
"They reacted and performed admirably," said Tim Perkins, emergency medical services manger for SU Ambulance.