Kent transport

New Kent first responders, resident recognized for lifesaving actions – Daily Press

NEW KENT – Members of the New Kent Fire and Rescue Service and a quick-witted resident were recently honored for helping save the lives of heart attack victims.

“[Their] dedicated efforts to save lives have defied odds and have resulted in three people being with us here tonight,” Chief Rick Opett said at the June 13 Board of Supervisors meeting. Opett compared himself to a “proud dad” of the speakers.

Members of the fire and rescue service have received the American Heart Association’s Heart Saver Hero Awards, which recognize those who respond to emergencies and use cardiopulmonary resuscitation to save a life.

Opett recognized and honored those involved in three separate incidents.

“All of these events possess similar characteristics in that each has key ingredients for success. These key ingredients are early notification to our 911 system, early CPR, early defibrillation and advanced ambulance resuscitation,” Opett said.

Stephanie Moran, 52, suffered a heart attack and cardiac arrest in December 2019.

Moran was home alone when she started feeling numbness in her arm. Although she had felt pain earlier in the week, it had been intermittent and she wasn’t worried. However, the pain began to creep into her jaw, so she called her husband, who drove home and called 911.

Firefighters and paramedics found Moran alert, but she soon went into cardiac arrest. CPR was administered for seven minutes and the defibrillator was used, getting his heart back into rhythm. Once Moran’s pulse returned, she was airlifted to VCU Medical Center (formerly MCV Hospitals).

Moran underwent coronary reperfusion and “left the hospital citing only minor memory issues and minor walking difficulties and was able to resume her life with some minor changes,” Opett said.

Since the incident, Moran has been able to spend time with his family and be there for the birth of his two grandchildren and is awaiting the birth of his third grandchild.

Assisting Moran that day was firefighter-paramedic Donald DJ Carter, firefighter-paramedic Michael Ervin and firefighter-paramedic Justin Hurst.

In January 2020, Shawanda White, 47, felt pain in her leg but ignored it, thinking she had strained it. Instead, she continued with her day. But that night, her husband found her unconscious and called 911.

“NKFR teams responded and worked quickly to get Ms White to hospital. Shortly after leaving her residence on the way to the hospital, Ms White suffered sudden cardiac arrest, later caused by a blood clot in her leg which traveled to her lungs,’ said Opett.

According to Opett, White had several cardiac arrests on the way to the hospital, but the crew never stopped CPR or resuscitation efforts.

Since surviving the incident, she has attended her son’s college graduation and cherishes the time spent with his family, Opett said.

White’s husband thanked New Kent Fire-Rescue for their efforts and dedication to their work which saved his life.

Battalion Chief Jason Bishop, Medic Michael Leonard, EMT Angela Book and Fire Paramedic Jarrett Elam were assisting White that day.

The latest incident highlighted at the supervisory board meeting took place in April. Robert Ryan, 66, was working in his front yard when neighbor Alvin Fisher noticed Ryan had collapsed. When Fisher checked on Ryan, he found him unresponsive and quickly called 911 while screaming for his wife.

“EMS arrived on scene within five minutes and immediately began performing CPR,” Opett said. “Crews were able to take Mr. Ryan’s pulse and quickly began transport to the VCU Emergency Health Center in New Kent where he was stabilized” before being taken to the VCU Medical Center.

Opett said Ryan received target temperature management, which can reduce neurological damage from cardiac episodes, and later received coronary bypass surgery to overcome heart blockage.

Ryan was hospitalized for 24 days but is now back home with his wife and two daughters.

“He has no deficits except for some short-term memory loss surrounding the incident,” Opett said. “Mr. Ryan has since been able to return to work where he runs a large data center.”

Capt. Travis Longest, Paramedic Lt. Ryan Shelton, Advanced Fire Paramedic Levi Dawkins, Fire Paramedic Charles Pugh and Paramedic Firefighter Joey Taylor were all involved in the incident.

In addition to recognizing firefighters and rescue workers, Opett also presented Fisher with the Citizen’s Rescue Award “for his courageous acts and leadership in activating the 911 emergency response system.”

According to Opett, every minute without CPR the chance of survival decreases by 7-10% and thanks to the quick actions of Fisher and the New Kent Fire-Rescue Department, Ryan beat all odds.

“I think I’m just one example of why these services in the community are so essential,” Ryan said. “And I hope New Kent can continue to grow and provide these services in the future.”

Amy Jo Martin, [email protected]