GLEN ECHO VOLUNTEER PARAMEDICS AND EMTS AMONG THOSE RECOGNIZED FOR SAVING CARDIAC ARREST VICTIM ON CAPITAL CRESCENT TRAIL
The Capital Crescent Trail was crowded as bicyclists and walkers captured a few final moments of summer-like days before fall fully took hold when witnesses saw a man in his early fifties collapse a few yards from the Massachusetts Avenue pedestrian bridge. Bystanders called 911. Within moments the youthful-looking man laying on the pavement stopped breathing. Someone checked for a pulse, but none was found. Recognizing the man was in cardiac arrest, a companion began hands-only CPR.
Within minutes of the man’s collapse, paramedics and EMTs quickly started arriving from the Glen Echo Fire Department, Bethesda Chevy Chase Rescue Squad, and Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service, bringing with them an array of medical equipment, training and experience in managing medical emergencies and rescues. As cyclist and runners squeezed by on the trail, emergency personnel moved swiftly to initiate high-performance CPR, which employs a “pit crew” approach designed to maximize positive outcomes. Designated personnel ensured: continuous chest compressions and ventilations; medics used a special drill and catheter to deliver life-saving medication directly into the patient’s bone marrow; an advanced airway was considered; the heart rhythm was carefully monitored as a team leader kept time on critical actions; the patient’s heart received an electrical shock from a defibrillator; a mechanical chest compression device was deployed; and the patient was evacuated to a nearby ambulance as the CPR continued uninterrupted.
In the ambulance, the advanced life-saving efforts continued as medics consulted with Suburban Hospital by radio. As the ambulance began the short journey to the hospital via Little Falls Parkway, which was closed to vehicle traffic, a forward emergency vehicle cleared the roadway of pedestrians and cyclists using lights, sirens, and a PA system to ensure a quick and safe passage.
After forty-five minutes of CPR and determined effort by the rescuers, the patient regained his pulse, and he began his remarkable journey from cardiac arrest to full recovery.
On March 17, 2021, the Montgomery County Department of Fire Rescue Services recognized the emergency personnel who contributed to saving the Capital Crescent patient, and we join in thanking them:
Firefighter Michael Atkins (MCFRS)
EMS Captain Collin Brody (BCCRS)
Paramedic Rebecca Collins (GEFD)
Firefighter Lorenzo Cromwell (MCFRS)
Firefighter Paramedic David Denaburg (MCFRS)
Firefighter Paramedic Geoffrey Firestone (BCCRS)
EMS Lieutenant Victor Graves (GEFD)
EMT Cannon Haworth (GEFD)
Lieutenant Ryan Moore (MCFRS)
Firefighter Paramedic Zachary Olson (GEFD)
The Capital Crescent Trail call was one of the thousands run by Glen Echo Fire Department each year. It was not the first cardiac arrest call on the trail or the first “save” for the responding personnel, but it is an excellent example of why our members volunteer to do the job they do, day-after-day. We are proud to serve the community, and we thank you for the support which makes this and other rescues possible.
We would be remiss not to also give credit to the victim’s companion who started hands-only CPR prior to the arrival of fire/rescue. While he and the patient must remain anonymous, his quick action clearly increased the patient’s chances of a positive outcome. He is, by all definitions, a hero for stepping up and having the courage to do the right thing in a life-and-death situation. You, too, can make a real difference by learning hands-only CPR in a few short minutes. To learn more, visit: https://cpr.heart.org/en/cpr-courses-and-kits/hands-only-cpr