Paramedics performed CPR on Hamlin for nine minutes. Central Ohio paramedics said saving a life is all about early recognition, early intervention, and calling for help as soon as possible.
“Once your heart stops working properly and you go into a cardiac arrest event, survival beyond four to six minutes once your brain is not receiving oxygen after about four to six minutes, you will start experiencing irreversible brain damage and, ultimately, death,” said Christopher Zimmer, the assistant fire chief for Upper Arlington Fire Division.
Zimmer said as awful as it was to see what happened on the field in Paycor Stadium, he hopes this inspires more people to become CPR-certified.
“It’s so vital and it’s key for the public to learn CPR in the event that they experience somebody, a bystander or a family member, that has cardiac arrest so that they can intervene, they can step in and potentially save somebody else’s life,” Zimmer said.
Zimmer said it is rare that something like the Hamlin accident happens, but if it does, there are EMS crews at every high school football game in Ohio ready to act. It only takes about four to six minutes of oxygen not getting to a person’s brain to cause irreversible damage, so having paramedics at that game ready to perform CPR right away is vital.
“The care that we are providing in the field is no different than the care that the patient is going to receive in the emergency room,” Zimmer said. “And so, we have the same equipment, medications, interventions, protocols; the exact same effort that goes on in the emergency room, we do out in the field.”
Grandview Fire Chief Greg Eisenacher said the newest initiative for doing CPR is hands only.
“I think the most important thing we can tell the community about CPR is anything you do will help, even if you don’t have special training, even if you don’t feel comfortable doing mouth to mouth, if you just walk up and don’t just drive by, you can make a difference,” Eisenacher said.
But he said his team and other teams across central Ohio have tools to make their actions more efficient, like the Lucas device.
“What this Lucus device does is that it will take the place of manual compressions,” Eisenacher said. “It’s very tiring doing CPR, we might have limited personnel. Once they do that, they turn it on, and they constantly monitor and if we had this patient on our cardiac monitor right now, you would see the perfect definition of a compression.”
He said they also use an AED, an automated external defibrillator. Eisenacher said anyone can use them since they normally come with detailed instructions.
“It has pictures to show you where the patches go when you turn it on,” he said. “It tells you what to do. You cannot shock someone if a shock is not going to help someone. It will sense for a heart rate; it will sense for everything you need. It will say shock advised or shock not advised.”
If paramedics are not around, this is their advice.
“We will take the patient to the ground so that they are on a hard surface so that compressions are most effective,” said Grandview Heights Fire Captain Jason Kay. “After that, palm down, interlocking fingers in between the nipple line and compressing.”
There are paramedics present at all high school football games in Ohio in case of emergencies. Fire officials urge everyone to become CPR certified, saying classes are available throughout the community year-round.