Downey firefighters save life of elderly man

DOWNEY - A local diner is grateful to be alive today after Downey paramedics successfully resuscitated the 70-year-old man who went into full cardiac arrest while eating at Bob's Big Boy restaurant last month.While stopping for an impromptu lunch on Jan. 23, the Downey resident soon became unresponsive at his table and fell to the floor inside the iconic eatery, located at 7447 Firestone Blvd. Already battling a small house fire on the 7300 block of Dinwiddie Street, Downey firefighters were called immediately and arrived on the scene in less than 90 seconds. "On arrival they found the male victim who was in full cardiac arrest - no heartbeat, no breathing," wrote Fire Captain John Day in a released statement. "The crew from Engine 64 went to work initiating life-saving treatment." "That's what we do," said Fire Captain Ed Haupt who led the response effort. "There was a pretty good crowd there in the corner. The people at the surrounding tables were pretty worried ‚àí he was probably in cardiac arrest two to three minutes before we arrived." After several attempts of CPR proved ineffective, Downey firefighter Steve Lund used Magill forceps to remove what was later determined to be a large chunk of steak meat, lodged in the unconscious resident's airway, fire officials said. "With the obstruction removed and the patient receiving increased levels of oxygen, the lucky man began to regain consciousness," wrote Day. "By the time the patient arrived at Downey's Kaiser Hospital he was awake and fully conversing with attending firefighters." Fire officials said the gentleman was admitted to hospital, but released soon thereafter. "This was a unique call," Haupt said over the phone. "Usually when we get there it's past the point to bring about a positive outcome ‚àí in this case, everything worked out perfectly." Both Day and Haupt took the incident as an opportunity to remind community members that learning CPR or attending First Aid classes now could reap great benefits down the road. "There was an opportunity in the crowded restaurant for someone to step up and do something," said Haupt. "Learn CPR, you can potentially save someone you're with or someone else's life."

********** Published: February 03, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 42