Quick thinking by Battalion Chief and 17-year old life guard
saves 32 year old heart attack victim
OFPD/Feb. 10, 2013 – Officials of the Orland Fire Protection District are praising the fast thinking, quick response of a Battalion Chief and a 17 year old life guard who saved the life of a young man who had a heart attack while playing basketball Sunday night at the Sportsplex, 11351 W. 159th St.
Orland Fire Protection District Chief Ken Brucki said that Battalion Chief Nick Cinquepalmi was watching his son play basketball at the Sportsplex Sunday night at around 4:30 pm when people from a nearby court ran up to him asking for his help regarding a friend who “just collapsed.”
Brucki said Cinquepalmi saw that a young man collapsed on the court floor with what appeared to be severe Cardiac Arrhythmia, also referred to as Ventricular Fibrillation. He was immediately assisted by a Sportsplex Life Guard, 17 year old Jake Pechukas who brought an AED (Automatic Electronic Defibrillation) and the two began CPR.
“Battalion Chief Cinquepalmi reacted without hesitation and so did the young life guard and immediately responded to the emergency with CPR and an AED,” Brucki said.
“The ambulance had been called and was only minutes away. But Cinquepalmi applied the AED electrical pads to the victim’s chest and shocked him back into regaining consciousness and breathing.”
Brucki said the incident demonstrates the importance of having an AED nearby in the event of a cardiac incident, and said the Orland Fire Protection District is in the process of establishing a training program with local businesses and restaurants to make AEDs and trained employees available to respond to similar circumstances.
“Every minute that a patient is not breathing negatively impacts the chances of recovery,” said Brucki.
Brucki praised the Village of Orland Park and the Park District for ensuring that this important piece of lifesaving equipment, the AED, and having the staff trained in its use were available.
“The ambulance arrived and was able to continue professional emergency support and the patient is now recovering. Incidents involving cardiac issues can be unpredictable and the faster you can provide assistance the better the chances of survival,” Brucki said.
Pechukas said he was excited but proud that he was able to help the victim.
Cinquepalmi praised Pechukas for his quick action.
“The victim was in real trouble. I had an AED in my car but the lifeguard, Jake, told me they had an AED. I shocked him one time and the suspect’s body jumped and started to do 30 or 40 compressions and he just woke up,” said Cinquepalmi, who has been a fireman since 1983 including the last 24 years with the Orland Fire Protection District.
“The fact that we had an AED there saved this man’s life. He was 32 years old with no medical history and goes into sudden cardiac arrest. Now he is fine.”
The victim, who is from Orland Hills, lost a few teeth when he collapsed face down on the court. Cinquepalmi said the victim’s friends were so excited that they were able to save his life.