Employees and AED at Thousand Oaks mall save man's life [Ventura County Star, Calif.]
(Ventura County Star (CA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sept. 01--Sandy Mitchell had only seen a defibrillator on TV until Aug. 10, 2012.
That's the day her husband of 36 years died -- and then came back.
"Frank was ice cold. He was gone," said Mitchell, 63, of Port Hueneme. "He was in full cardiac arrest."
As he lay on the floor of a Thousand Oaks electronics store, employees performed CPR and shocked his heart with an automated external defibrillator, or AED.
Each year, about 600 people collapse from cardiac arrest in Ventura County. Last year, Frank 'Kimo' Mitchell, now 65, was one of them.
The father of three and grandfather of six survived, in part, because people acted quickly and had ready access to an AED.
"It saved his life," Sandy said.
For the past several years, the state has required some businesses such as health clubs to have AEDs available and to train staff on how to use them. State law, however, does not include penalties for noncompliance.
AEDs are registered with the county, giving emergency dispatchers a map of locations, said Dr. Angelo Salvucci, medical director for the county's emergency medical services. At least 250 AEDs are in various spots throughout the county.
That number includes 150 public-access devices and an additional 100 in the county's own program, he said. Those 100 are placed in county facilities, from jails to a sheriff's patrol vehicle in remote Lockwood Valley.
Officials recently purchased an additional 20, said Chris Rosa, deputy EMS administrator.
Training thousands of emergency personnel on high-performance CPR has made a big difference in the county's cardiac arrest survival rate, which Salvucci said is one of the highest in the nation. But AEDs also save lives here, he said.
"There's no question that the earlier one is shocked out of abnormal heart rhythm ... the more likely they are to survive," he said. "If an AED is the first device (available) that can shock a person, it can very well be the device that saves that person's life."
It was 6:45 p.m. Aug. 10, 2012, when Frank Mitchell collapsed. The Port Hueneme couple had rushed to the Apple Store in The Oaks mall that night, carrying a broken computer. Trapped inside was a document needed to sell their San Diego home.
"All I remember is feeling a little woozy and passing out," Frank said last week.
He was leaning against a shelf when Sandy saw his eyes roll back in his head and him fall to the floor. She dropped down next to him and called for help.
"I need help. Someone help me," she remembers yelling.
Andrew Martin, 21, of Simi Valley, was about to leave for the day when his colleague ran to the back of the store asking him to come quickly.
Martin, a trained emergency medical technician, started CPR as another employee ran to get The Oak's AED. A security guard quickly came in with it, and Martin and the guard used the device to shock Frank's heart into a normal rhythm and continued CPR.
By the time emergency crews arrived minutes after the 911 call, Frank was conscious and had started talking. "He was brought back," Sandy said.
Frank was taken by paramedics to Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center and received several stints to unblock arteries in his heart. From the doctor to Martin and other employees, the Mitchells lauded the help they have received.
His doctor has warned him against surfing or returning to a full-time job. But he gets to paint and spend time with family, he said. He has a new perspective and takes little things a little less seriously.
He has gone out in the ocean since recovering, but now he just pushes the kids on a surfboard instead of riding the waves himself.
Frank hadn't heard much about AEDs before last year. Now he says, "I'm an advocate."
For more information about the county's AED program or training, go to http://www.vchca.org/ems/aed-program.
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