Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Blow to chest may trigger potentially dangerous heart rhythm

by Tina Shelton
Blow to chest may trigger potentially dangerous heart rhythm ECG reveals AF with irregular ventricular rhythm; B, enlarged insert from lead V1; C, follow-up ECG 3 days after presentation showing spontaneous resolution to normal sinus rhythm; D, enlarged insert from lead V1.  A hard hit to the chest can cause an irregular heartbeat that may lead to death even days after the impact, according to an upcoming article in the journal Pediatrics, based on a case involving a 16-year-old Hawai`i football player.  The case, and its diagnosis by a University of Hawai`i (UH) medical professor, likely will change the way physicians diagnose the potentially fatal complication, and suggests chest protection gear should be standard in sports.  Pediatric Cardiologist Andras Bratincsak, MD, PhD, of the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) and Kapi`olani Medical Center for Women and Children (Hawai`i Pacific Health), is the first physician to discover that blunt trauma to the chest can cause an arrhythmia in the atrial, or upper chamber, of the heart.   While doctors knew such trauma could cause arrhythmia in the ventricle, or lower heart chamber, and even sudden death, they had not realized before the potentially lethal affect on the upper or atrial chamber of the heart.  "It doesn't cause an immediate collapse on the field, but it can cause fatal consequences, including stroke, as long as four days afterward," said Dr. Bratincsak. "And that may be why we (in medicine) may not have recognized the link between a hit to the chest and atrial arrhythmia before."  In the Hawai`i case that led to the new discovery, the football player felt some chest pain, complained of being "light-headed" and his heart rate was elevated.  He left football practice and arrived about 25 minutes later at the emergency room of Kapi`olani Medical Center, a teaching hospital partner with the UH medical school.  An EKG (electrocardiogram, which is a record or display of a person's heartbeat) was performed and evaluated by Dr. Bratincsak, who noted an irregular heartbeat of an average 70 to 80 beats per minute.  "The secondary complications, such as stroke, can be prevented if it's diagnosed quickly," said Dr. Bratincsak, and in the teen's case, it was.  He was kept at the hospital for observation, and three days later, tests confirmed the arrhythmia resolved itself.  One year later, a follow-up visit confirmed normal heart rhythm.  "This definitely should be recognized as a possible danger in contact sports," advises Dr. Bratincsak.  What action is recommended for athletes, parents, coaches and medical professionals?  "Number one, athletes should be wearing protective gear for their chests, not just their heads," Dr. Bratincsak says. "Number two, if someone is hit on the chest by another player's helmet or chest, or hit by a baseball or martial arts strike, the athlete should have an appropriate evaluation by the coach, trainer or health aide immediately, including checking the pulse."  The danger, he added, is too great to be ignored: "Any blunt chest trauma that doesn't relate in sudden ventricle arrhythmia can still result in atrial arrhythmia."  It is possible, Dr. Bratincsak says, that sudden deaths or other unexplained cardiac deaths in individuals could be explained by this. "If arrhythmia is found in an otherwise healthy individual, we should now at least consider that it might be because they had a chest trauma, and we didn't know about it, because we (in medicine) never asked about it."  A new rule in the emergency department from now on could just be, as Bratincsak puts it, "Where you see a-fib think about blunt chest trauma; when you have blunt chest trauma, think about a-fib."  Dr. Bratincsak, who trained in JABSOM's Pediatrics Residency Program, wrote the paper with co-author Kyle Ota, a fourth-year JABSOM medical student who will receive his MD degree in May 2015. Their article, "Atrial Fibrillation Induced by Commotio Cordis Secondary to a Blunt Chest Trauma in a Teenage Boy," will be published in the January 1, 2015 issue of Pediatrics, the premiere journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

At Barry Park, a homecoming: Girl returns to visit soccer team - and coach who saved her life

At Barry Park, a homecoming: Girl returns to visit soccer team - and coach who saved her life

Jade McKenney at Barry Park with Ted Straub, the Nottingham High School modified soccer coach who saved Jade's life when she went into cardiac arrest. (McKenney family | Submitted photo)

The homecoming was at Barry Park, bringing everything full circle. Coach Ted Straub was on the sidelines, watching his Nottingham High School modified girls team compete with Central Square in soccer, when he turned and saw one of his players approaching, in street clothes.
It was the first time 12-year-old Jade McKenney had been to the park since she'd left by ambulance in September, after going into cardiac arrest.
"Thanks, Coach," said Jade, who gave Straub a hug.
For a minute, no one was thinking about soccer.
"My starters were all out on the field," said Straub, who'd also visited Jade in the hospital, "and at the end of the first quarter they were so happy to see her I was afraid they were going to trample her."
That was Oct. 16 -- exactly 36 days after Jade finished a routine day of classes at the Edward Smith School and then went to Barry Park for soccer practice. Jade asked Straub if she could run an extra lap to warm up, and the rest of the team had started on a drill when a couple of players began screaming that Jade had collapsed.
Straub ran to her. Jade wasn't breathing. She had no pulse. Straub, a physical education teacher at McKinley-Brighton Elementary School, handed his cell phone to Priscilla Fudesco, a 13-year-old team captain, and asked her to call 911.
Then he began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation as he'd been trained to do it:
Straub got on his knees, lined up his shoulders above his hands, placed one hand above the other and put them on Jade's chest.
Thirty compressions. Two breaths. Repeat.

That reaction, doctors would later say, saved Jade's life.
A fellow coach, Joe Horan, ran to Straub's side. Two nurses who'd been driving past, Don Paradise and Michele Gulla, stopped to help. Straub kept going. Three minutes after Fudesco made her call, Lt. Paul Schaap and firefighter Steve Segur of the Syracuse Fire Department arrived at the park. They gave Jade a shock with a defibrillator.
The child responded with a groan. She began struggling to breathe.
By the next day, from the hospital, she sent a message of support to her team - and an apology for disrupting the practice.
Jade's mother, Diane Wright McKenney, said specialists determined a valve had failed in Jade's heart. On Oct. 3, doctors performed surgery on the child at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. They inserted a mechanical valve. They discovered her right coronary artery had basically been inoperative, which is why she collapsed. By rerouting the left artery, they solved the problem.
"The doctor has been saying (this surgery) is one and done," said Wright McKenney, who is constantly aware of how difficult the entire struggle would be for anyone, much less a 12-year-old: This is the second straight year, for instance, that Jade will be curtailed for Halloween, always a special time for a child. A year ago right now, Jade had a broken foot.
Yet in the long run, Wright McKenney said, everything looks good: Within seven or eight months, Jade should be ready to play again on the soccer field and cleared for ballet.
Most important, when she takes the field for Straub next autumn, she'll be free of any medical concern that what happened last month might happen again.
Those who love Jade never forget what the doctors said after her collapse: In a case of cardiac arrest far from medical help, survival hinges on an almost miraculous sequence of reactions.
Chief among them: someone performing near-perfect CPR.
Straub remains a little stunned by the community response. He took a call from a man who said he saved his wife by doing CPR in the same way he'd read that Straub did it. Fellow coaches have told him they're looking into refresher courses and more training, to make sure they'd know what to do in the same situation. American Heart Association officials called to say they'd like to find a way "to keep the ball rolling."
As for the soccer team, Jade came to a couple of games and to a team party at the end of the season, where she met Straub's wife, Stephanie, and their young daughters, Emily and Jocelyn.
Out of appreciation, the McKenneys -- David and Diane and daughters Jade and Jett -- presented Straub with a one-night family package to a Syracuse University basketball game that a neighbor had insisted on giving them, after their trial. The coach accepted with one promise: He wants to bring Jade, as a guest.
The modified team won a single game this autumn, but the players -- bonded by concern for Jade -- grew especially close. Straub said the season was a success in all the ways middle school sports ought to be:
"The girls were there to learn," he said, "and to have fun and be safe."
Next year, Jade fully intends to be a part of that again.

Miracle' at Barry Park: For Syracuse teacher at desperate moment, training saves a child's life

With a child's life in the balance, doctors say Ted Straub, a teacher and soccer coach in Syracuse, did everything exactly right: He responded with emergency CPR that's credited with saving 12-year-old Jade McKenney. (Gary Walts | gwalts@syracuse.com)

In his mind, Ted Straub heard the distinct command.
He couldn't tell you which instructor said it, or what session it came from. It was simply the imperative driven home each time -- the one from all those cardiopulmonary resuscitation trainings he'd gone to as a teacher, the CPR sessions in a classroom or a gym or at the side of a pool.
It was training he hoped to never use:
Lean down, get on your knees, line up your shoulders above your hands. Put one hand above the other. Press down on the chest.
All that came back to him on a beautiful September day at Barry Park, where a girl without a pulse or heartbeat was quiet on the ground, where there was no time for any fear about what might happen next.
The command he remembered: Two breaths, then 30 compressions.
Straub, 35, is a physical education teacher at McKinley-Brighton Elementary School in Syracuse. He began work this month at that full-time position. A few years ago, he left a career in advertising to become a teacher. His old job involved promoting fast food. He grew tired of it.
"I wanted to do something that helped kids to be healthy," he said.
Along with teaching, he coaches the girls modified soccer team from Nottingham High School, a team consisting of more than 30 girls from city middle schools.
The children practice at the park, where Straub arrived -- as he does each day -- on the afternoon of Sept. 10. Driving there, he planned on going through some basic drills, some fundamentals. The girls, before they started, ran a few laps to get loose.
Jade McKenney, 12, went to the coach with a request. Jade was born with a heart murmur. Her parents and doctors provided forms giving her the OK to play soccer, but they also asked if the child -- when needed -- could go at her own pace. As practice got started, Jade asked to run a second lap, by herself, to thoroughly warm up.
Straub said that was fine. He assembled the rest of his team in two lines, near the net.
As he started a drill, he heard players screaming.
Jade, on the other side of the field, had collapsed.
Priscilla Fudesco, 13, a team captain, noticed when Jade asked to run a lap alone, a choice Fudesco described as unusual for girls in middle school: Typically, they like company. For a reason Fudesco can't quite explain, she was uneasy about Jade.

When her friend didn't return to the drill, Fudesco looked around the park.
She saw Jade, motionless, on the ground. Fudesco and a teammate, Cammie Nash, ran to her. Straub heard them screaming:
"Jade! Jade! Jade!"
The child was more than 100 yards from the practice. "I sprinted over ... I don't think I've ever run so fast in my life ... and she was lying face down in the grass," Straub said.
"I tapped her on the shoulder and shook her and knew right away something was seriously wrong. I could tell by looking at her there was nothing there. I had to act fast. People say to me: 'You must have been freaked out,' and they say they couldn't have done the same thing.
"But I tell you: You sit through all these trainings, and when it happens, it clicks in."
Dr. Craig Byrum, a pediatric cardiologist who treats Jade in Syracuse, describes the rescue as "a miracle." Jade was in full cardiac arrest, he said. Coming back from that condition demands, as he puts it, having "four or five stars in place."
The first is the presence of someone with CPR training, like Straub, "who did the thing that all of us are supposed to know how to do."
The second and third stars are simple -- but don't always line up:
You need a mobile phone, and someone to make a perfect call.
Straub had a phone. He rolled Jade over, then handed it to Fudesco, his young captain. He told her to call 911.
"I was afraid," Fudesco said, "but I knew I had to stay calm to make sure Jade was OK."
She made the call and answered the dispatcher's questions, while Straub followed the command locked into his memory:
Two breaths, 30 compressions.
Straub's challenge, Byrum later explained, didn't involve trying to get Jade's heart beating again. His job was to serve as what Byrum calls a bridge, to provide enough exterior force to send blood coursing through her body -- especially to her brain -- until emergency help arrived.
Through his hands, for those few minutes, Straub kept the girl alive.
The brief space of time, Straub said, seemed extended, never-ending. He continued to perform CPR as Joe Horan, coach of the modified boys team, came to his side. Don Paradise and Michele Gulla -- nurses who happened to be driving past -- saw him with Jade, stopped their car and did all they could to help.
Straub kept going as he heard the sound of approaching sirens, as a 'mini' truck from nearby fire Engine Co. 10 pulled up, as firefighter Steve Segur and Lt. Paul Schaap hurried toward the girl.
Paradise, a nurse, moved in and took over CPR as Straub stepped back to give the firefighters room. Segur made sure Jade had a clear airway, while Schaap applied stickers to her chest that can carry a charge from a defibrillator.
Again, Byrum said, the stars had to line up perfectly: All those people -- each one -- played critical roles. By good luck, Schaap and Segur were stationed on East Genesee Street, a short drive away. According to their records, the alarm went off at 3:45 p.m. and they were at the park in three minutes.
As for the defibrillator, Byrum explained that a heart stops beating and often quivers during cardiac arrest -- a condition known as ventricular fibrillation. The machine does a reading and then answers this question:
Does the wounded heart have an electrical rhythm that can be restarted by a jolt?
The answer isn't always yes. In Jade's case, it was.
Schaap administered a shock.
When it was finished, he said, "she gave a little groan." Segur saw Jade try to take a breath. He used a bag valve mask to help the girl inhale.
A Rural/Metro ambulance took Jade to the hospital, where she was soon in the company of her parents, David and Diane Wright McKenney, and her sister Jett -- all of whom shifted from fear into almost bottomless gratitude. Jade would awaken and start to regain her strength. The next day, she sent her coach a message for the girls:
"Tell the team I'm sorry I wasn't feeling well yesterday at practice."
The doctors told Jade's family a valve had failed her heart, and they expect to replace it -- sometime this fall -- at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. Jade's mother said the girl, understandably, isn't thrilled about the surgery.
Yet in the definition of highest meaning, she is fine. Those who love her can't stop thinking, as Byrum said, of how the stars aligned.
Straub had scant time, after the ambulance left, to collect himself. Horan helped him to get his bearings, reassure his team and calmly finish practice. Everyone -- the doctors and firefighters and staff at the hospital -- say that when it mattered, Straub did things exactly right.
Many people have stopped by McKinley-Brighton to thank him, including Superintendent Sharon Contreras, who described Straub and his fellow teachers as "unsung heroes."
Straub insists he's not.
He's a coach, he said, and a child was in trouble, and it came down to all that training, drilled into his head.
Still, no training could prepare him for how it felt when he stopped at the hospital, and Jade greeted him while she was resting in a chair.
This time, when he reached toward her, she reached out and hugged him back.

Monday, September 15, 2014

North Merrick school nurse, lauded as lifesaver of stricken aide

Mari Titterton, North Merrick school nurse, lauded as lifesaver of stricken aide

September 12, 2014 by AGATA MICHALAK / agata.michalak@newsday.com
Camp Avenue Elementary school nurse Mari Titterton at
North Merrick district officials are praising the lifesaving efforts of an elementary school nurse who sprang into action when a longtime aide collapsed Thursday afternoon.
Mari Titterton, 57, was in her office at Camp Avenue Elementary School when faculty members called for help about 1:40 p.m. She found the aide in a hallway on the second floor -- unconscious, not breathing and without a pulse.
Running behind her was substitute nurse Susan Heaphy, carrying one of the school's two Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs.
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Titterton's training kicked in.
"You just go into autopilot," she said Friday. "You do what you have to do."
Still emotional while describing those intense moments, Titterton said she and Heaphy took turns performing CPR. When the aide did not respond, Titterton applied the AED pads to the woman's chest.
"The AED shocked her, and all of a sudden we felt a pulse," said Titterton, a North Merrick resident who has been a school nurse for 13 years, six of those at Camp Avenue Elementary.
When emergency medical technicians from the North Merrick Fire Department arrived, district Superintendent David Feller said, the aide was conscious and breathing. She was even speaking before EMTs took her to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, Titterton said.
School officials would not release the name of the stricken woman but said she is recuperating. She has worked at the school for 16 years and lives nearby, walking to and from her job, where her duties include watching over students during lunch and recess.
When students found out she won't be back immediately, they asked, "Who's going to help us play kickball?" Principal Ron Reinken said.
"I am very proud of Mari," he said. "It's comforting to have people around you that can respond under such pressure."
Titterton will be honored at the district's Oct. 14 school board meeting, Feller said. The fire department also plans to recognize her with a citation at an upcoming meeting, he said.
"I am remarkably proud of how quick our staff handled it," Feller said.
Titterton was CPR-certified by physical education teacher Karen Nolan, who also ran to help, bringing the school's second AED. Faculty and students were told to stay in their classrooms as Titterton, Heaphy, Nolan, Reinken and the EMTs worked to stabilize the woman.
"All I can say is, it's a miracle, on the day of 9/11," Titterton said.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Hoops Game Turns Life-and-Death

Hoops Game Turns Life-and-Death

For three of the heart attack victim’s rescuers it was a case of déja vu

Richard Hand, center, stopped by the Pierson middle school gym on Sunday to thank fellow basketball players who had resuscitated him when he was in cardiac arrest just a week earlier. Taylor K. Vecsey
Pierson Middle-High School in Sag Harbor has an impressive record of students and staff trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation who have gone on to save others, but when a man went into cardiac arrest while playing basketball on a Sunday morning nearly two weeks ago and was resuscitated, it marked the first save on school grounds.

Richard Hand, a 52-year-old Sag Harbor resident, had been hitting 3-pointers all morning and was at the end of the fourth game, going in for a rebound under the basket, when he suddenly collapsed.

Rick Weissman of East Hampton was guarding him when he dropped to the floor. “I thought he ran into somebody and fell and hit his head,” Mr. Weissman said.

Woody Kneeland, a Pierson coach who was playing that morning, and Mark Tuthill, who was watching from the sidelines, reported seeing Mr. Hand’s whole body go limp before he hit the floor. “It was like 100 degrees in the gym — it could have been a million things. When he went into convulsions, I knew it was serious,” Mr. Kneeland said.

Claude Beudert, an East Hampton High School teacher who has known Mr. Hand for 25 years, called 911 at 10:06 a.m., initially telling dispatchers they needed the ambulance for a head injury from a fall.

Other players, including Charlie Bateman, a former advanced emergency medical technician with the Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and Dr. Alan Katz, an East Hampton dentist, rushed to Mr. Hand’s side. His heart rate was erratic, and he was fighting for breaths, Dr. Katz said.

“We thought maybe he was having a seizure. Within a minute or two we ­realized he was having a heart attack,” Mr. Bateman said.

Mr. Bateman and Dr. Katz started CPR at a ratio of 30 compressions to 2 rescue breaths. Mr. Kneeland, who had been recertified in CPR just three weeks earlier, and Mr. Tuthill, a personal trainer who knows CPR, helped keep his airway open and later performed compressions as the rescuers traded positions, as recommended under American Heart Association guidelines. Mr. Beudert found an automated external defibrillator at the entrance to the gym.

“I’m looking down his body from his head to his feet and I just thought this was it — this man is going to die,” Mr. Tuthill said.

The rescuers ripped off Mr. Hand’s shirt, wiped the sweat from his chest, and placed the defibrillator’s pads in position. The portable electronic machine reads the heart’s rhythms and will indicate that a shock is needed to establish a life-sustaining beat only for patients with two types of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. Mr. Hand was in ventricular fibrillation, an abnormal rhythm where the heart cannot pump blood, and the shock was delivered within 24 seconds after the device had been turned on, according to a report the A.E.D. issued afterward.

“All of a sudden, it looked like he had some life in him again,” Mr. Kneeland said.

Mr. Weissman, who does not have CPR training and recalled standing off to the side praying, suddenly had a hunch that the ambulance probably thought they were in the high school gym, instead of the middle school gym. He ran outside to Division Street and dialed 911 to redirect them.

When the ambulance arrived at 10:11 a.m., Mr. Hand was already coming to. As Mr. Weissman re-entered the gym with the emergency medical tech­nicians, he was shocked to see Mr. Hand’s chest and stomach moving up and down very rapidly. “He was breathing. I ­couldn’t believe it — I was amazed.”

The Sag Harbor ambulance corps sent an electrocardiogram of Mr. Hand’s heart to Suffolk County Medical Control at Stony Brook University Hospital, and a decision was made to airlift him to Stony Brook, which has a catheterization laboratory. By the time the medevac helicopter landed at the ball field next to the Bridgehampton Fire Department, Mr. Hand was fully alert.

Eddie Downes, the president of the ambulance corps, said Mr. Hand is lucky to be alive. “It all came together like it was supposed to,” he said, emphasizing the importance of early compressions and a quick administration of a defibrillator.

One week later, Mr. Hand was back in the gym, not lacing up his sneakers, but to thank those who saved his life.

“Without the defibrillator, I wouldn’t be here,” he said, adding that the doctors told him, “ ‘You’re lucky those guys knew what they were doing.’ I was out for six or seven minutes — that’s kind of the limit before you lose brain function.”

He doesn’t remember much of what happened. “I just remember we were playing well; it was a tied score. I was just playing and I got a little bit dizzy.” The next thing he could remember, he was being wheeled out of the gym on the stretcher.

Mr. Hand said he hadn’t had heart problems before. He was told the cardiac arrest was caused by a problem with electrical impulses, and an implantable cardioverter defibrillator was placed in his chest. Doctors also found a blockage and inserted two stents. Despite all that, he was back home on Tuesday, and he expects to be back on the basketball court in six weeks.

For some of the players it was an eerily familiar situation.

Eleven years ago, Mr. Bateman, Mr. Beudert, and Dr. Katz were playing basketball one Thursday evening at the East Hampton Middle School when Dexter Grady, a 36-year-old night custodian who joined a game during his break, dropped to the floor. They started life-saving measures, including the use of an A.E.D. that had been put in the school only four months earlier, just after it had become a New York State mandate. Mr. Grady was resuscitated and is still working at the school today.

“This was like déja vu,” said Mr. Bateman, who went on to become an E.M.T. after Mr. Grady was revived.

Dr. Katz said he and Mr. Bateman were “lucky twice . . . Charlie and I would be the first to admit it — lots of times CPR does not bring anybody back.”

Susan Denis, the health teacher at Pierson who is in charge of training all 7th and 10th-grade students in the American Heart Association’s Heartsave CPR A.E.D. course, taught the recertification class for coaches, including Mr. Kneeland, and he was among about 30 others she has taught who have gone on to save lives. This save was yet another example, she said, of why it is so important to learn the lifesaving skill and why more automated external defibrillators should be in public places.

“If we can shock you within the first minute, we’ve got a 90 to 95-percent chance of bringing you back. But by 10 minutes, there’s less than a 5-percent chance,” she said.

“The defibrillator is just a wonderful tool. Even if you’re panicking, you’ll know how to use it,” said Mr. Beudert, who learned CPR and how to use the A.E.D. through the East Hampton School District, where he coaches golf and tennis.

The whole incident is already inspiring people to be prepared. Mr. Weissman said he wants to learn CPR now, and is even considering taking an emergency medical technician course. Meanwhile, Mr. Tuthill, who said he had never followed through with an idea to buy an A.E.D. for his Martial Arts Center in East Hampton, went home that very night and placed an order online for a model that cost $1,500.

Mr. Hand, too, said he is going to learn CPR. He also hopes to spread the word that having “a defibrillator in public places is incredibly important, because I wouldn’t be here without one.”
Some of the players who were instrumental in saving Richard Hand, center, when he went into cardiac arrest. From left, Woody Kneeland, Charlie Bateman, Claude Beudert, Dr. Alan Katz, Mark Tuthill and Rick Weissman.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Quick action by EMTs save Riverhead teacher's life at 'Crazy Sports Night' event

Quick action by EMTs saved the life of a Riverhead teacher who collapsed in cardiac arrest after a hard-fought game of tug-of-war at "Crazy Sports Night" tonight at Riverhead High School.
Phillips Avenue Elementary School teacher Lonnie Hughes went into cardiac arrest on the high school gymnasium floor at the conclusion of a tug-of-war contest pitting Phillips Avenue against Aquebogue Elementary School. Hughes was the anchor man for the Phillips team, which was defeated in the match. Immediately after it ended, Hughes fell onto his back, appearing to have lost consciousness.
Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps head ALS provider Jennifer Kelly, who was in the audience to cheer on her nephews' school, and Riverhead High School physics teacher Gregory Wallace, an EMT with the East Marion Fire Department, rushed to the fallen teacher's aid, Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps Chief Joseph Oliver said tonight.
RVAC member Susan Shleef maintained the patient's airway and breathed for him, Oliver said.
Kelly and Wallace used a defibrillator to shock the patient's heart to establish a heartbeat, Oliver said.
Other teachers participating in the sports night event formed a human wall around Hughes as EMTs worked to resuscitate him, to protect him from view of the gymnasium packed to capacity with children and their families.
School officials immediately evacuated the gym, which was emptied without incident within minutes of the teacher's collapse, as a Riverhead ambulance crew rushed to him with a stretcher.
Hughes began breathing on his own in the ambulance on the way to Peconic Bay Medical Center, Oliver said. By the time the teacher was in the emergency room, he was talking and laughing with the EMTs who brought him there, the RVAC chief said.
Hughes, 57, was transferred to Stony Brook University Hospital for further observation and testing, Oliver said.
"The outcome of having our ambulance there was the reason Lonnie is alive right now," Oliver said.
 Hughes' family wants the community to know the teacher is alive and well, and asked the ambulance corps chief to make a statement about tonight's events, he said.
RVAC personnel who responded to the emergency at the high school gym tonight were: Chris Mazzucca, Sameer Anandm Heather Zilnicki, Laura Donahue, Joseph Sokolski, Christopher Flemming, Andrej Ceckowski Sandra Ruttkaova and Martin McKenna, according to the RVAC chief

Thursday, March 6, 2014

IHC player ‘critical’ after collapsing at basketball game

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PHILADELPHIA — An Immaculate Heart Central School basketball player is in critical condition after collapsing during a game Tuesday afternoon at Indian River Central School.
The player, identified by IHC varsity football and softball coach Paul Alteri as Jack Valentine, 13, was resuscitated by school personnel, taken to Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown and transferred to Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, according to Indian River Athletic Director Jay Brown. Valentine was listed in critical condition Wednesday night. The nature of his illness was unknown.
Mr. Alteri said he had not spoken with the boy’s parents but heard he “is getting better.”
Valentine had just returned to the bench after playing the first quarter when he collapsed, Mr. Brown said. The incident occurred about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday during a boys modified seventh-grade basketball game.
School nurse Theresa M. Leeson and athletic trainer Ashley N. Naklick, both at the school at the time, performed CPR and used an automated external defibrillator, or AED, on Valentine until an ambulance arrived. He had a pulse before he left, Mr. Brown said.
“They did a fantastic job,” he said. “The boy is still with us today because of them.”

Monday, February 17, 2014

NYS Athletic Trainers’ Association Partners with Parent Heart Watch

NYS Athletic Trainers’ Association Partners with Parent Heart Watch

The New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association (NYSATA) is pleased to endorse Parent Heart Watch (PHW), a grassroots organization of parents and partners solely dedicated to reducing the potentially-disastrous consequences of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in youth. The objectives of PHW in the areas of education, prevention, recognition, and appropriate emergency action aligns them very well with the intentions of NYSATA and all levels of athletic training-related associations.

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Andy Smith, MS, ATC speaks at the 2014 Parent Heart Watch Conference.
I hope the NYSATA endorsement of PHW is the first of many state athletic training associations and similar organizations joining forces in the common goal of protecting our youth.
Buffalo, NY (PRWEB) February 13, 2014
Approached in the fall of 2013 by a joint member of both the NYS Athletic Trainers’ Association (NYSATA) and Parent Heart Watch (PHW) for the organizations to join efforts, NYSATA saw this connection as a win-win for both groups and gladly accepted the invitation of support for one-another. In addition, PHW invited a NYSATA member athletic trainer to present at their annual national conference this past January.
The mission of PHW is to protect youth from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and preventable Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) and their goals and purpose lie in the education, advocacy, and implementation of programs to help prevent disabilities and death of youth caused by SCA, including appropriate emergency action and equipment – knowing these factors could have made the difference in saving their children’s lives. This focus aligns well with the objectives and intentions of the athletic training profession and AT-related organizations like NYSATA.
Athletic trainers (ATs) are healthcare providers educated in the recognition and management of cardiac conditions that may be seen in a sport-related setting, such as SCA and commotio cordis, and are required to maintain a CPR/AED certification as part of their professional certification. ATs also understand the importance of having appropriate emergency action plans (EAPs), including appropriate equipment, in place. The partnership between NYSATA and PHW can help bring attention to an increasing health issue in the United States and will provide not only members, but healthcare providers, school officials, legislators, and the general public with educational materials, local cardiac screening opportunities for youth, and other useful resources in the prevention and emergency planning for cardiac emergencies.
PHW has a number of initiatives including affordable or free youth heart screening events, assistance in obtaining automated external defibrillators (AEDs), support for CPR/AED certifications for those who work with youth, and advocating for a National Registry of SCA and SCD in young populations. Other day-to-day points of focus are the education of youth, parents, and health care professionals, including certified athletic trainers (ATs), on the latest safety information regarding SCA, and promote effective emergency planning, including a written emergency action plan (EAP), for life-threatening situations such as SCA and traumatic cardiac injury, like commotio cordis.
Individually and as an organization, they have already changed laws, placed thousands of AEDs in local communities, and conducted heart screening events for thousands of youth. Specifically in NYS, they have a few member organizations that offer such screenings. The [Madison McCarthy Cardiac Care Coalition for Children runs screenings in the greater Buffalo area and Heart Screen New York, and affiliates - the Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation and the Dominic A. Murray 21 Memorial Foundation - offer screenings around Long Island. In addition to cardiac screenings, these organizations carry out grassroots awareness campaigns, organize educational events and CPR/AED training sessions, provide informational and financial assistance to schools to purchase AEDs and become Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) providers, and they lobbied for the successful passing in 2002 of “Louis’ Law” (NYS Bill #A8779) mandating that all public high schools in NYS be equipped with AEDs in their buildings and at all sporting events. They are now pursuing the introduction of the “Sudden Cardiac Arrest Act” in NYS which was recently passed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with legislation pending in at least seven other states.
The hope is that these efforts will decrease – and eventually eliminate – preventable disabilities and death of youth caused by SCA, which is currently the leading cause of fatalities on school property in the United States – 1 in 50 schools has an episode each year. Another notable figure, especially where NYSATA is concerned, is in the student-athlete population, where statistics show that, in the U.S. alone, one young competitive athlete dies every three days from an unrecognized cardiovascular disorder. PHW also hopes to stress the importance of early diagnosis of potentially fatal cardiac disease, which is the second leading medical cause of death in children and adolescents in the United States.
In addition to approaching NYSATA for an endorsement, they also invited Andy Smith, MS, ATC, Director of Sports Medicine at Canisius College (Buffalo, NY) – and PHW member - to speak at their 9th Annual Conference in Cary, NC. On Saturday, January 18th, Smith, who is also a Past-President of NYSATA and 2014 inductee into the NYSATA Hall of Fame, presented on the "Call to Action: Engaging Your State High School Athletic Association to Effect Change.” In addition to discussing how to reach out to the state high school athletic associations, Smith encouraged PHW members to contact their state and regional Athletic Training Associations for assistance, support, and offering educational information. Smith gave an overview of the athletic training profession and offered examples of how PHW and ATs can work together in protecting youth.
“This is an amazing group of effected individuals who proactively work together as a unit and with affiliated groups, looking and working toward the future to create change in this highly underrated and serious health issue in our country,” stated Smith following his time at the PHW conference. “I hope the NYSATA endorsement of PHW is the first of many state athletic training associations and similar organizations joining forces in the common goal of protecting our youth.” Smith also noted that, following his presentation, the 160 attendees at the conference gave NYSATA a long ovation for its endorsement of PHW.
Parent Heart Watch was incorporated in 2005 after beginning three years earlier as an informal collaboration of several families across the United States, meeting only online, who all lost a seemingly healthy child unexpectedly to SCA. Thanks to grants and support from the Medtronic Foundation Heart Rescue Program and Patient Link Program the inaugural meeting of the organization was launched, along with educational materials, in 2002, and now PHW has members in nearly all U.S. states.
Parent Heart Watch joins a list of other organizations that NYSATA and other AT associations have partnered with for the awareness, prevention, and management of various life-threatening injuries, illnesses, and conditions in sport and recreation, including: the Korey Stringer Institute (KSI) – (sudden death in sport), The Second Impact with Ray Ciancaglini (concussions), Brain Injury Association (of NYS) (brain injuries/concussions), and the Sports Legacy Institute (SLI) (concussions/brain injury from sport).
NYSATA, founded in 1976 and incorporated in 1989, stands to advance, encourage and improve the profession of athletic training (AT) by developing the common interests of its membership for the purpose of enhancing the quality of healthcare for the physically active in NYS. Athletic training is practiced by certified athletic trainers (ATs), who have expertise in the assessment, emergency management, rehabilitation and prevention of acute and chronic sport-related injuries, illnesses and conditions, including concussions. Comprised of over 1,200 certified and practicing athletic trainers, NYSATA is the state-wide affiliate of the regional EATA and District Two of the NATA.
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PO Box 767
Northport, NY 11768
Phone: 631-754-1091