Sunday, July 6, 2014

How important is Knowing CPR

Judy and I found out Thur how important it is to know how to administer CPR and be ready for a medical crisis. We also were reminded how fragile life is.

We are still shorthanded here at the park and other PGE temps are filling in some for us.  Thursday Judy and I left the park to pick up some groceries in Madras and also just to have some away time. If  we don’t make ourselves leave the park we would be working 24/7 now that we are down a host couple. If we are at the park we work even though we aren’t on the schedule officially.
Thur. when we arrived back at the park, Rose, one of our fill-in host was working in the office. Thirty eight check-ins were expected.  Once back I helped Judy get the groceries out of the truck and she said she was going to the office and help Rose, once she got things put away. I headed on over to the office and asked Rose if she needed me to do anything.  She asked me to drop off a bundle of firewood in the park, so I headed out. 

About fifteen minutes later Judy called me on the walkie-talkie and said there was a woman at the office who was not breathing. I asked if she had carried out the emergency protocols and she said yes. I headed back to the office.

Before Judy arrived at the office a man had walked into the office and told Rose that his wife had stopped breathing about 2-3 minutes before he had arrived at the office. Rose had immediately notified the park control center (at the dam) and called for an ambulance and went out to render aid. Rose found that two park campers had already gotten the woman out of the truck and were already involved with CPR. Judy arrived then and saw what was going on and heard someone say the lady did not have a pulse so she ran back into the office and called the control center and requested that they send a defiberator  over.

The two campers performing CPR were a RN and an EMT tech. It took five minutes for the defiberator to be delivered  to the site. The nurse and EMT followed all of the machine’s preprogrammed instructions; opened the two lead pads and attached them to the woman’ s exposed chest. The machine completed  its initial analysis of the the patient’s condition and directed all to stand clear and ordered an electrical shock.  It did another analysis and directed a new round of CPR. This continued another ten minutes until the EMTs from Madras arrived and they took over.
Judy and I had closed off traffic to the park and kept the area clear of curious campers.  The town EMTs had removed our equipment and connected theirs. After three more electrical shocks she was transported to the Madras hospital twenty miles away. We got word an hour latter that she did not make it.

Judy was clearly shaken by the experience and questioned whether she would have been able to handle the situation if she had been at the office alone. I thought about the fact that at age of 64 I had never witnessed the actual death of another person.

Do you know how to perform CPR?  The situation may arise no matter where you are and without warning. 

That is all for now. Thanks for stopping by.

*I purposely did not take pictures of this event.

*If you are looking for a workamper position in the Oregon area send me an email for details.


  1. Jim and Judy....Thank you for sharing this story. It has motivated me to sign up myself and my entire staff to the 1st responder training class. Our Outdoor University classes are remote and we are on the front line if something happens. I know this was a traumatic event for all involved, but sometimes we can do all we can and we still fall short. God Bless you both for being there and caring so much for others.

  2. It sounds like you and your staff did everything right in assisting your visitor. Sometimes it just isn't going to be successful no matter how quickly you respond. So sorry you had to experience this but I'm sure the woman's family is grateful you made the effort to help her.
    I had a heart attack 4 years ago and was so fortunate that I got immediate help from the fire department EMT and escaped with no major damage and a stented artery. It's so important not only to know CPR, but to recognize the signs of heart attack and stroke and to get help immediately. That visitor may have been having symptoms for hours or days before she stopped breathing.

  3. So sorry you had to experience this. I can imagine how upsetting it would be to be in that situation, but clearly everyone did all that could be done.

  4. Sorry about having to go through that. It is a very good reminder about CPR. I will sign up for a refresher soon.

  5. We both have been CPR certified as well, through our Ocala job. We've never had to use it, but I'm glad we are. Like you said, you never know where you might be when it will be needed. Seconds save lives. So sorry this didn't happen for this woman. Prayers for her family.