On Tuesday, April 24, 2017, Steve Whisset reunited with Los Angeles County and City emergency personnel who helped to save his life. Photo credit: Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Spencer Parker.
by Jennifer Hubbard with Lidia Barillas
The Los Angeles County Fire Department’s (LACoFD) Lifeguard Division held an Emergency Medical Services Recognition Ceremony on Tuesday, April 24, 2017, at the Lifeguard Training Center in Manhattan Beach.
Emergency personnel that were honored included a good Samaritan, LACoFD Lifeguard Captain John Greger, LACoFD Ocean Lifeguard Specialists (OLS) Jeff Martinez, Rodney Williams and Charles Piccaro, and Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) Captain Brandon Benn and LAFD Fire Fighter Paramedic Josh Perelli-Minetti. The ceremony featured a reunion between a recovered heart attack victim and the honorees.
The incident that brought them together occurred on December 26, 2016, when Steve Whisset suffered full cardiac arrest while cycling on the Dockweiler State Beach bike path. Within seconds, a bystander trained in CPR began Hands-Only CPR. Captain Greger was patrolling nearby when he noticed the activity. He called in for additional resources while he attempted to restart his heart with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). OLS Martinez soon arrived to help support the CPR effort. Not long after, LAFD paramedics delivered Advanced Life Support and transported the resuscitated patient to a ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) receiving facility.
The collective efforts of a bystander and Los Angeles County and City emergency personnel all helped to save this man’s life. According to the American Heart Association, 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrest die. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival. National CPR and AED Awareness Week is June 1-7, 2017. Learn more about Hands-Only CPR at cpr.heart.org.