EMS: Courage and Compassion In Action

By Shawn P. Godfrey EMT-ParamedicPrint Story | Email Story
Village Ambulance Operations Manager and Paramedic Shawn Godfrey
Welcome to "EMS:Courage and Compassion In Action," a twice-monthly column written by Village Ambulance Services Operations Manager and paramedic Shawn Godfrey. Godfrey's columns will appear on every other Tuesday and will focus on the reality of the emergency services medical profession. Amanda’s Story Imagine that someone suddenly collapses in your presence. Would you know what to do? Of course, call 9-1-1, but would you be able to keep them alive until the ambulance arrives? A large percentage of heart attacks occur at home and are usually witnessed by a family member or friend. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) can be learned and initiated by almost anyone and it nearly doubles the survival rate of a person in sudden cardiac arrest (death). The administration of timely CPR is vitally important since it contributes to the preservation of heart and brain function. Many success stories, like this one, are a direct result of people prepared to help other people. When I first became certified in CPR as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), I was comfortable with the thought of dealing with people in cardiac arrest, so long as the victim met the “expected” criteria for dying: elderly, sedentary, or, in some instances, palliative. I never imagined young people die, too. In fact, the mere thought of it seemed impossible. Maybe because, at the time, I was young and believed that indestructibility was a given, at least until I was dispatched to help Amanda. Ten year-old Amanda was laying face down in the school’s gymnasium, not moving, with both arms limp and outstretched. Her skin was turning blue, unlike the pinkish color children typically acquire when playing. Nearby, classmates continued to run and giggle, unaware that Amanda lay lifeless at the side of the bleachers. There was one student wondering about her: "I don’t know what happened. We were practicing our cheerleading and she fell. Is she dead or fooling around?" Fortunately, the Phys-Ed teacher immediately ran to Amanda’s aide after he witnessed her fall to the floor. After rolling Amanda onto her back, the teacher determined she was unresponsive, not breathing, and had no pulse. To his absolute horror, she presented with all the physical signs of death. The teacher, albeit timidly, immediately began CPR, systematically following all of the steps recently acquired while attending a school-sponsored CPR program just a week earlier. Minutes seemed like hours and hours like days. Each breath that entered Amanda’s lungs and each compression applied to Amanda’s chest were of equal importance to her survival. Following approximately three minutes of CPR, Amanda regained a weak and steady pulse, and started breathing on her own. When we arrived, Amanda was lethargic and her eyes were lackluster. We supported her breathing with supplemental oxygen and transported her to the nearby hospital. Because of immediate bystander CPR, like that administered by Amanda’s Phys-Ed teacher, a host of exams and x-rays showed she was in good health and miraculously, within three hours, she was behaving completely normal. There is no definitive medical diagnosis as to why Amanda suddenly collapsed that day, but one claim that can easily be made is Amanda’s teacher, by simply learning CPR, saved her life. Contact your local ambulance service or hospital for information regarding upcoming community CPR classes. I encourage all of you to learn CPR, because people like Amanda could one day be counting on you.
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Boys and Girls Club 5/6 Girls Stay Unbeaten

Community submission
The Boys and Girls Club of the Berkshires 5th- and 6th-grade girls defeated the Lenox Youth 5/6 girls basketball team at the 2020 CYC Invitational Tournament this past weekend.
It was a great game with great sportsmanship from both sides.
The Boys and Girls Club of the Berkshires remains undefeated on the season.
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