COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Quick response times are proving to be the difference between life and death in a sudden cardiac arrest, as a 49-year-old Ohio man is remembering how he was saved two months ago.
Mark Hunt, 49, suffered from a severe heart attack in February, and medical experts are crediting teamwork from bystanders, field medics and hospital staff for saving Hunt. Now, two months later, he is reuniting with those first responders to thank them for their heroic acts.
“I don’t remember much of anything,” Hunt said. While Hunt said he does have a history of heart conditions in his family, he never thought it would happen to him at this early age.
Celeste Click, Hunt’s fiancé, said she called 911 right away. The medical professionals called Click’s action the first link in the chain of survival.
“I think the one thing we can all learn from today is the importance of bystander CPR and that was being done,” said Lt. Heith Good with the Norwich Township Fire Department. “And the celebration that we have today is the reason why he’s here today.”
The Columbus Division of Fire arrived on the scene first, followed by the Norwich Township Fire Department.
“The collaboration that we all have and that we can work seamless and that is exactly what happened that day,” Good said. He said they took over CPR, then Norwich Fire transported Hunt to Riverside Methodist Hospital.
“They secured an airway, so they had to use an airway, they hooked the patient up to a Lucas device which is a mechanical CPR device that is doing CPR for us mechanically,” he said.
Dr. Warren Yamarick, the Medical Director at Riverside, said as all this is going on, his team is preparing to add another link to the chain.
“When he was dropped off, we just fine tuned some of that and had the nurses start the IV, respiratory was there, pharmacy was there, the whole team was there and we had him on what we call a Lucas device to do CPR,” Yamarick said. “It means so much to everybody in the ER that they provide excellent care, and they are our partners pre-hospital. If they don’t do our job, we can’t do ours.”
Hunt spent 14 days in the hospital. He was placed on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine.
“He was our ECMO patient from the other day, and we would get updates and it was so important for our team to hear that because we don’t see the survivability of sudden cardiac arrest very often. But we would hear ‘oh he is starting to wake up, he’s starting to follow commands,” Yamarick said.
Hunt said he is taking his recovery journey day by day. But one thing he knows for sure is that he is thankful.
“Heroes, absolute heroes,” Hunt said. “Like the doctors said if things hadn’t happened exactly the way they happened, I probably wouldn’t be here.”
Everyone at Tuesday’s celebration said they are thankful to hunt too for being their reason why they do what they do.
“I’m glad that we get an opportunity to see him, to talk to him, and love him, and give him a hug because cases like this is what keeps us going,” Good said.
The medical professionals hope this shines a light on how quick action and care can really make a difference in care. Some of the firefighters at Station 30 said, as soon as Hunt was released from the hospital, they went over to check on him right away. Hunt said he is looking forward to getting back to work and house hunting with his fiancé.