Saturday, February 24th, 2018

PHH EMS recognizes lifesaving teamwork

Posted: Friday, January 26, 2018

It was one of the hottest days of 2017. Jerry Brumbaugh was outside doing lawn work at the Parkview Boys & Girls Club when he experienced a sudden heart attack. Thanks to the people who stepped in to restart his heart, Brumbaugh is alive and smiling.

He got the chance to express his gratitude to them today as they gathered for a short ceremony at Parkview Huntington Hospital (PHH). PHH EMS manager Carla Gebert organized the ceremony to make the hospital’s first-ever challenge coin presentation in recognition of the teamwork displayed by all the individuals who assisted Brumbaugh before he arrived at another area hospital and was treated successfully.

“If it wasn’t for these people, I wouldn’t be here,” said Brumbaugh.

When the heart attack occurred, neighbor Bill Wike was also outside. He had noticed Brumbaugh mowing the lawn, and then he realized he couldn’t see Brumbaugh anymore, and he decided to investigate. Wike found Brumbaugh on the ground, unconscious, and he immediately began CPR.

Chris Newton, chief deputy, Huntington County Sheriff’s Office, was next to respond, using the AED (automated external defibrillator) in his vehicle to stimulate Brumbaugh’s heart. The AED had been provided by Parkview Huntington in 2016, one of a number the hospital had purchased and donated to local emergency responders. While Newton was working on Brumbaugh, Huntington Fire Department firefighters Matt Blackburn, Brandon Bollinger, Chris Brumbaugh (Jerry’s nephew) and Kevin Close arrived and continued CPR. Huntington Police officers Skyler Beard, Cole Lahr, Brock Woodward and Dave McElhaney also assisted. Parkview Huntington EMS crew members Jill Porter and Rob Kumler arrived soon after. They provided advanced life support (ALS) treatment and transported Brumbaugh to a Fort Wayne hospital.

“This story is a perfect demonstration of the American Heart Association ‘chain,’” said Gebert. “It all started with Bill (Wike), a private citizen who had learned CPR and was willing to take action and use it. Then the first law enforcement officer on the scene, Chris (Newton), used the AED, and our fire and EMS personnel completed the chain, regaining a pulse so Brumbaugh could be stabilized. It’s the best-case scenario.”

To honor each of the individuals, Gebert presented them with a challenge coin designed by PHH EMS last year. Challenge coins originated in the military, used to recognize meritorious service and boost morale. Public safety personnel now use them, and many collect them.

Newton, who has known Brumbaugh for years, echoed sentiments from others in the group: “It’s nice to be part of this happy outcome. This is actually a pretty rare occurrence. Of the people who experience a sudden cardiac arrest when they’re by themselves – like what Jerry experienced – many aren’t found in those first few, golden minutes, and they don’t pull through. But we were all able to make it there in time to help. Everyone knew exactly what to do, and it all worked out. I believe everything happens for a reason. Jerry is a big promoter of Huntington. And, apparently, Huntington still needs him!”

Proudly displaying their Parkview Huntington EMS challenge coins are Bill Wike, Chris Newton, Jerry Brumbaugh, Rob Kumler, Jillian Porter, Matt Blackburn, Chris Brumbaugh, Kevin Close and Brandon Bolinger. Skyler Beard, Cole Lahr, Brock Woodward and Dave McElhaney are not pictured, but they will also receive PHH EMS challenge coins.