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ACAA Reports Two Cardiac Arrest Saves and Recognizes Bystanders and Emergency Responders


PITTSBURGH, PA (January 8, 2010) – The Allegheny County Airport Authority recognized individuals who helped to save the lives of two travelers at Pittsburgh International Airport last month.

“The Chain of Survival depends on early access and intervention. In both of these cases, travelers and employees at Pittsburgh International Airport responded quickly and called for help. They are to be commended for saving lives. The Airport Authority has an airport-wide AED program and a first aid CPR/AED training program for employees. These efforts are vital and valuable resources to the public,” stated Glenn R. Mahone, Chairman, Allegheny County Airport Authority.

Thanks to the quick response of bystanders at Pittsburgh International Airport, two men lived to see the New Year. The incidents occurred 11 days apart last month where each man suffered cardiac arrest, that is, stopped breathing and had no pulse. Each was brought back to life with bystander CPR and the use of the airport AED machine by traveler and employees who rushed to help.

On December 17, a 55-year-old man suffered from cardiac arrest and collapsed in the A Concourse on the Airside Terminal. Brad Dougherty, a TGIFriday’s employee, and two Southwest Airlines passengers, Joseph Justin and Marty Ogden, rushed to his aid and saw that the man was unconscious, turning blue and not breathing. Joseph and Marty began performing CPR while Brad ran to retrieve the automated external defibrillator (AED) and sound the alarm for the paramedics. He attached the defibrillator to the man and continued to give CPR until the paramedics arrived. They were able to get his heart started again and had him breathing when the emergency responders arrived.

“I actually had a similar experience about a month before and I watched the paramedics use the AED, which is how I knew to go grab it,” said Dougherty.

The emergency responders who treated the patient and helped save his life are Jim Polachek from Airport Authority Operations, Airport Rescue Fire Fighters William Devereaux, Ronald Waggett, Thomas Bonura, Elliott Hampton, Gary Morrow and Eric Wissner, Valley Ambulance Service paramedics Ryan Chadish and David Jones and EMTs Tom McCallister, Dennis Gapsky and Brenna Wandel, and Allegheny County Police Department officers Donald Oesterle and Keith McGann. The patient was transported to Allegheny General Hospital.

The second incident occurred on December 28. A 71-year-old man had a heart attack near the escalators on the Airside Terminal and collapsed. Allegheny County police officers found him and immediately began performing CPR. One of the officers pulled the defibrillator and attached it to the patient. Emergency responders arrived and took over treatment and the patient was rushed to Allegheny General Hospital.

Emergency personnel who responded include Ron Weidman of Airport Authority Operations, Airport Rescue Fire Fighters Scott Mathieson, Robert Fialkovich, Thomas Cloonan, Douglas Greer, Brian Nolan and Keith Smith, Valley Ambulance Service paramedics Donna Wauthier and Craig Jaenicke, and Allegheny County Police Department officers Chris Brown, Frank Paul, Jonathan Kelley and Keith Cecotti.

“The reason both of these saves were successful is because of early intervention. The only reason these men are alive today is because of the quick administration of the AED,” said Airport Authority Deputy Chief Tim Holmes.

The automated external defibrillator (AED) is a computerized medical device. An AED can check a person’s heart rhythm. It can recognize a rhythm that requires a shock. And it can advise the rescuer when a shock is needed. The AED uses voice prompts, lights and text messages to tell the rescuer the steps to take. AEDs are located throughout Pittsburgh International Airport and when one is pulled, it sends an alarm to emergency responders with the defibrillator’s location.


Jan 07, 2010