|For Immediate Release
December 19, 2011
|Contact: Wanda Bowers
A Kismet Christmas…
Barnstead Man's Life was Saved in Alton
CONCORD, NH – A celebration will be held on Tuesday, December 20, 2011 at 10:00 AM at the 9-1-1 Center, 110 Smokey Bear Blvd, Concord, New Hampshire. The ceremony will involve everyone who was part of the save including the 51 year old survivor, Jim Riley; the 9-1-1 Dispatcher, Joyce Jastrem; the 9-1-1 caller and Jim's good friend, Lynn Shull; the bystanders who stopped their car to take over chest compressions and the call, Brett Kimball and David Elwell; and the volunteer responders from Alton Fire Department. Jim has a lot to be grateful for and will have the opportunity to thank everyone who was involved … all at one time!
Jim Riley is an independent person. He and his friends describe him as 'living off the grid.' He takes care of his family without services from utility companies. He is self sufficient and proud of the life he leads. On Thursday, December 1st at 12:43 PM, however, he found himself at the center of a medical emergency which involved an entire community. Jim had been feeling a bit 'off' for a few days prior. He attributed his symptoms to an injury he had sustained in the past. His co-worker, Lynn Shull, was working with Jim on a roofing job in Alton. She recognized he was struggling, but not 'down and out.' She kept a close eye on him as they moved slowly with the tasks at hand when all of a sudden Jim collapsed. Lynn immediately called 9-1-1 from her cell phone. "A friend of mine has fallen over and he's not responding to me," she told 9-1-1 Dispatcher Joyce Jastrem. "He's purple, what do I do," she pleaded with Joyce. Although New Hampshire 9-1-1 utilizes a sophisticated location software to locate callers, cell calls aren't pin point accurate. Lynn, who was acutely aware of her surroundings, quickly provided the street name and a landmark nearby for emergency responders to find her. Joyce asked Lynn to check Jim's breathing; he wasn't breathing. Immediately, Joyce contacted local dispatcher, Jeff Tobine at Lakes Region Mutual Aid and he dispatched the ambulance to the location Lynn had provided. Joyce began Emergency Medical Dispatch procedures, scripted life saving medical instructions. "I'm going to tell you how to help him," she assured Lynn. Lynn started chest compressions; "1 – 2 – 3 – 4" Joyce kept a steady, even pace for Lynn to follow. Not long after, two passers-by stopped to help. Brett Kimball was driving by and recognized that Jim was in dire straits. Brett stopped, picked up the cell phone to talk with Joyce as his co-worker, Dave Elwell, took over compressions from a very exhausted Lynn. "Come on buddy – you can do it – we're here," Brett shouts to an unconscious Jim. Alton Fire/Rescue arrived on scene and assumed care. The crew defibrillated Jim and immediately had a viable heart rhythm. Alton rescuers packaged Jim into the ambulance and began transport to Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro. By protocol, Paramedic Janet Williamson from Huggins Hospital intercepted the ambulance and provided advanced life saving attention. Jim was eventually airlifted to Dartmouth Medical Center in Hanover, New Hampshire. Jim had a 100% blockage in one of his arteries. Surgeons implanted a stent and, miraculously, Jim was recuperating at home in just one week. He is doing well and his prognosis is good. Jim is a very lucky man. When asked about his ordeal, Jim said the outcome would have been very different if the emergency had occurred at home where he cannot receive a cell signal. "Fortunately, I wasn't home when this happened," Jim acknowledged. He'll be spending the holidays with family and friends thanks to an efficient emergency response from all who were involved. "I want to show my appreciation," he said. Lynn Shull summed up her experience with Jim's 9-1-1 emergency with this thought; "You can make a difference." Jim's friends and family hope his experience will inspire the public to learn CPR and encourage local public safety and civic organizations to offer CPR courses.
The American Heart Association promotes early access in all aspects of cardiac emergencies to improve chances of survival and recovery for victims of heart attack and stroke. The "Chain of Survival" supports immediate recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system (9-1-1 caller), early CPR with an emphasis on chest compressions (9-1-1 Dispatcher), rapid defibrillation (Alton Fire/Rescue), effective advanced life support (Huggins Hospital) and integrated post-cardiac arrest care (Dartmouth Medical Center). This emergency perfectly illustrates how all the parts of the whole came together in a continuum of care to save Jim's life.
The public and the media are invited to attend this event. Space is limited. If you'd like to attend, please contact Wanda Bowers, Public Information Representative at (603) 271-6911.
Directions to the Concord 9-1-1 center can be found on our website: https://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/emergservices/contactus.html.