Heron Lakes Golfer Saved by Quick Thinking Staff

05/23/02    Portland, Ore.

OHSU and Portland Parks & Recreation team up to improve community health

Jean LeRoux of Vancouver is on the road to recovery after staff at Heron Lakes Golf Course saved his life. The 61-year-old golfer was leaving the 18th hole at the golf course Thursday, Nov. 15, 2001, when he suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. Before paramedics arrived, Don Blaske, Peter Marth and Byron Wood, staff at Heron Lakes, ran to his aid, initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and used an automated external defibrillator (AED), which recognizes a life-threatening heart rhythm and advises the rescuer to administer an electric shock if needed. Paramedics arrived soon afterward and took Jean to a local hospital where he underwent a quadruple bypass.

"The folks at Heron Lakes saved my life. I wouldn't be talking to you today, if they hadn't been there and trained," said Jean.

Barbara Aguon, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) safety manager, said, "I am very proud of the workers' quick action in recognizing and initiating care for another human being."

The staff's successful use of CPR and the AED are part of a 24-city national study led locally by Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). The Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) Study will determine whether non-medical volunteers in the community trained to perform CPR and use the AED will improve the survival of people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest. The experience at Heron Lakes is a promising example.

The study's coordinator, Maggi Gunnels, Ph.D., assistant professor in OHSU's Department of Emergency Medicine added, "The team at Heron Lakes did a wonderful job of providing both CPR and defibrillation. It's even more important at Heron Lakes because of the distance from the main roads for emergency medical services, (EMS) to maneuver. The team saved time and extended a life before EMS arrived. It's a wonderful example of how important the chain of survival is and why training is vital." OHSU has trained more than 1,500 volunteers in CPR and the use of AEDs at 80 sites in the Portland area, Salem and Vancouver as part of the study.

Since April 2001, approximately 200 PP&R staff volunteered to participate in the PAD study. The volunteers attended a four-hour training program, which teaches them CPR and how to use the AED. As part of the PAD study AEDs have been placed in randomly selected PP&R facilities, including Heron Lakes Golf Course, East Portland Community Center, Pittock Mansion, Mt. Scott Community Center/Pool and Hillside Community Center.

Aguon added, "AEDs are an important addition to PP&R's medical emergency response plan. Families young and old who play at these PP&R facilities are now even safer with AEDs and trained staff on location."

Although Jean had a significant appreciation for life thanks to his role as the president of the Kiwanis Doernbecher Children's Cancer Program at OHSU's Doernbecher Children's Hospital, that has grown through his own experience. "I told fellow Kiwanis this year at our annual meeting that life is fragile and you need to live every moment," said Jean.

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