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Windham Man Reunited with NH 911 Dispatcher, Other First Responders He Credits for Saving His Life after Cardiac Arrest
Concord, New Hampshire – A Windham man who survived a sudden cardiac arrest in September reunited with the NH 911 dispatcher and other first responders he credits for saving his life. New Hampshire Department of Safety's Division of Emergency Services and Communications held a lifesaving celebration ceremony for Dave Hughes at the Incident Planning and Operations Center in Concord on Thursday, where he was able to meet and thank the people who helped him in his time of need.
On Sept. 1, 2022, 9-1-1 Assistant Supervisor Abigail Rider answered a 911 call for a man who had collapsed in his backyard. The caller, who was the patient's wife, explained her husband was working in the yard when he suddenly collapsed, and she did not believe he was breathing. Due to Rider's speedy examination and cardiac arrest recognition, she was able to notify Windham Police and EMS within 47 seconds of the call being received.
Following the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch protocol, Rider instructed the caller, Wendy Hughes, through performing correctly-paced Compression-Only CPR. Patient care instructions were provided within 88 seconds and chest compressions were being given less than two minutes from the start of the call. Rider calmly explained why CPR was so important and offered reassurance to the caller until Officer Christopher Van Hirtum and Officer Matthew Nieves from the Windham Police Department arrived on scene and took over patient care.
"Our emergency medical dispatchers are highly-skilled and trained in providing lifesaving instructions over the phone," said Mark Doyle, Director of the Division of Emergency Services and Communications. "Abigail's quick recognition of the situation enabled her to request an ambulance expediently, and, while waiting for responders to arrive, she calmly provided CPR instructions that kept Mr. Hughes going until he reached a higher level of care."
Six weeks later, Dave Hughes took to social media to share his positive outcome and thank the first responders who came to his aid.
"My family tells me that the hospital (staff) were initially not optimistic about my chances for full recovery, but they worked diligently to apply all means to get me back," he wrote in a post to the Windham NH Neighborly Connection Facebook Group. "On September 23, I was released from rehab with virtually no lasting effects."
The American Heart Association reports that nearly 90% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the United States are fatal. In these instances, time is one of the most important factors in determining if a patient experiencing cardiac arrest will survive. Rider's calm demeanor and clear instructions resulted in the best possible outcome for the patient and his family.
Video Available on YouTube. Please credit: New Hampshire Department of Safety.