A Mayday in May and Another Tomorrow

October 8, 2020

Craig Ferry, a firefighter in Manchester, New Hampshire, has returned to work after recovering from a heart attack suffered in May 2020 while responding to a house fire. Rushing into the blaze, he collapsed and was unresponsive.

His fellow firefighters pulled him out of the burning two-story home and put out a ‘Mayday’ distress call for immediate assistance. Ferry, 58, had suffered sudden cardiac arrest. Immediate treatment was his only hope for survival.

AMR Standing By
As with all fires, an ambulance had been dispatched to support the fire department and respond to any injuries. AMR’s team of Paramedic Supervisor Mary Woo and Paramedic Jeffrey Brule were close by, coming to Ferry’s aid at a moment’s notice to help in in his time of need as Ferry had so often helped others.

Woo and Brule determined that Ferry was not breathing, had no pulse and was turning blue from asphyxia. Removing his cumbersome fire-fighting gear, the team, with help from Ferry’s colleagues, began to administer CPR and transferred him to the back of their ambulance.

Once positioned, Woo and Brule, joined now by AMR Paramedic Anthony Maccarone and Advanced EMT Melyssa Stokes, applied EKG pads which indicated ventricular fibrillation, a lethal heart rhythm. Defibrillation and CPR continued, but his EKG remained flat.

Pulse Check
With no change in Ferry’s condition, the AMR team ratcheted up their efforts. They introduced an intraosseous needle into his leg to administer Advanced Cardiac Life Support medications and prepared to place Ferry on a LUCAS II mechanical CPR device. This device helps lifesaving teams deliver high-quality, guidelines-consistent chest compressions to sudden cardiac arrest patients in the field or while in transit to a hospital.

Ferry’s EKG showed signs of activity. A quick check revealed that a carotid pulse was present and Ferry was attempting to breathe on his own. An anti-arrhythmic medication IV drip was employed to prevent a reoccurrence of ventricular fibrillation and the AMR team started him on oxygen. Ferry’s EKG was transmitted to nearby Elliot hospital, and he was prepared for transport. Twenty minutes had elapsed since Ferry’s collapse.

Another Tomorrow
Upon arrival at the hospital, Ferry’s pulse was strong and he was breathing on his own. After treatment, he recovered with no neurological impairment and has since returned to the Manchester Fire Department and active duty. 

The quick actions of Ferry’s fellow firefighters and the AMR team’s administration of high-quality CPR, rapid defibrillation and medications had saved his life. 

Ferry wanted to show his appreciation and thank the AMR crew of Woo, Brule, Maccarone and Stokes. In an event at the local AMR base, he met with them and watched as he was added to Manchester AMR’s Tomorrow Wall, which commemorates cardiac-arrest survivors.

For the AMR team, this ‘Tomorrow’ was special. Saving the life of a fellow first responder gave the event added meaning. Their skilled response meant that a critical member of the community could return to service and to his family. 

In his first week back on the job, Ferry was part of a water rescue that saved lives. He was there at a moment’s notice because AMR had been for him.

The Tomorrow Wall is on display in operations across AMR and serves as a constant reminder of the importance of early, high-quality CPR, timely defibrillation and Advanced Cardiac Life Support.

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