During the Greely High School performance of “Anything Goes,” a grandfather of one of the performers on stage collapsed in the audience. Many people quickly came to his aid. Those in the audience comfortable with emergency resuscitation began an assessment and started CPR. With no palpable pulse, the grandfather’s situation appeared grim. Fortunately his grandson, a sophomore at Greely, asked if the automatic external defibrillator located between the auditorium and the gym would be helpful. I am not sure if any of those participating in the grandfather’s resuscitation knew there was an AED so close. After quickly placing the leads on the chest, the AED sensed no demonstrable rhythm, and advised a shock to restart the heart. After one shock, the grandfather’s pulse immediately returned. Two minutes later his heart stopped again, and we administered another shock. After the EMTs arrived, we administered a third shock, and the grandfather finally began to come to as we loaded him onto the ambulance. We later learned he had been the victim of a sudden arrthymia which stopped his heart.

The grandfather is alive today because of the foresight of the Cumberland Fire Department and their placement of the AED at Greely High School two years ago. Also instrumental was health/science teacher Denise Allen, who had recently taught the use of the AED to her classes. One class included the gentleman’s grandson. Thanks to the Cumberland Fire Department and Greely educators for your vision and your commitment to our community.

Dr. Steve Barr
North Yarmouth