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Emory honors bystanders who helped resuscitate fellow employee
CEPAR event

Individuals honored at the CEPAR event for their quick, life-saving actions include (back row, left to right) Joseph Lawrence, Wayland Keller, Steve Landon, Evan Myers and Joju Olojede, and (front row, left to right) Nitya Koduri, Michelle Watts and Hannah Finke.

The Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) and Emory EMS (EEMS) recently hosted a cardiac arrest survivor’s reunion to celebrate the life of a long-term Emory employee who was successfully resuscitated by his coworkers and EEMS providers. Thanks to their intervention, the patient is recovering at home with no neurological deficits.

During the recognition event, members of the resuscitation team were given EEMS lifesaving certificates and medals. They also received lifesaving awards from Emory’s Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES). CARES helps communities measure performance and identify how to improve cardiac arrest survival rates, including through training support and access to one of the world’s largest EMS registries.

“This scenario is a prime example of how being knowledgeable about emergency interventions contributes to good patient outcomes,” explains Sam Shartar, senior director of operations for Emory CEPAR.

In this case, the lifesaving knowledge began with immediate recognition of cardiac arrest and calling Emory police. Events often referred to as “the chain of survival” followed: early CPR with a focus on chest compressions, rapid defibrillation with an AED, effective advanced life support from EEMS and transport to a cardiac capable hospital.   

In this particular situation:

  • Coworkers initiated CPR within seconds of the cardiac event;
  • An AED (automated external defibrillator) was retrieved and used to shock the patient;
  • Emory EMS arrived at the patient’s side within three minutes of being called;
  • First responders placed an advanced airway, defibrillated the patient five additional times and successfully resuscitated the patient. 

Thanks to these steps, the patient was transported to the hospital with a pulse.

However, a successful outcome in this type of situation is rare. Of the approximately 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests that occur each year, the survival rate is only 10%. Fortunately, actions can be taken to improve the chances of survival.

Emory CEPAR has placed more than 335 AEDs across Emory’s Atlanta and Oxford campuses and provides operational oversight for Emory EMS. CEPAR and EEMS also offer CPR training to the community, both at Emory and beyond. These components are essential for improving out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates.

Nitya Koduri, a field training officer with EEMS, was on the scene.

“Before we got there, the employee’s coworkers started compressions and had placed an AED,” she says. “It makes such a difference knowing how to place those and what to do. We took over the scene when we arrived. This call exemplifies the benefit of the collaboration of the community and EMS providers to improve outcomes. That chain of events led to his survival and he’s doing great — it meant so much to be part of that and see those results.” 

Here’s what you can do to make a difference and help improve survival rates: 

Steve Landon, an electronic security systems technician, was one of the coworkers who began administering CPR.

“During the emergency event, I found that the training that I and my fellow coworkers had attended quickly clicked into place,” he says. “One thing that stood out to me is that communication is key in emergency situations. At the very beginning, it turns out two of our staff called 911 because neither of us knew the other was doing so. If one of us had clearly announced our efforts, it would have freed up the other person to help with compressions, for example.”

Although Landon had previously worked in an organization that required yearly CPR/AED training, he notes that the classes provided by CEPAR were among the most thorough he’d ever attended, and he even identified some gaps in his knowledge. “It’s beneficial for as many of us as possible to have the training and skills to respond to the most common emergencies that we’re likely to encounter,” he says.

For more information on these courses and preparedness, please visit the CEPAR website:

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