The people who saved this young man's life: from left, firefighter Ryan Greene, firefighter Mark Hobbs, Captain John Shields, Captain John Sulentich, James Richardson, emergency medical technician F. Samaha, firefighter Michelle Fox and Chief Nick Kiniski.
Family and friends of 19-year-old James Richardson came to Point Roberts to thank the firefighters and emergency medical personnel who saved his life.
“These guys are the reason my son is still alive,” a tearful Rose Richardson told fire district commissioners at their July 16 meeting. “I thank you so much, and you’ll be in my heart forever.”
James, who suffers from Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, was visiting friends on Bayview Drive on June 30 when he went into cardiac arrest. Knowing he had a cardiac condition, his friends reacted quickly, beginning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and calling 911.
“We were there in less than five minutes,” fire chief and paramedic Nick Kiniski told commissioners, with three firefighters and three emergency medical technicians as well as himself responding. The patient was shocked five times and Kiniski administered cardiac medications before they got a heartbeat back and transported him to Delta Hospital.
Kiniski credited the weekend sleeper program with the strong and rapid response. “This young man, the only reason he’s alive is the programs you’ve approved,” he said.
Five of the responding department members were at the hall at the time of the call, with two responding from their homes or businesses on the Point. This permitted a rapid response with sufficient manpower to meet the minimum that the Seattle Fire Department requires for a cardiac or trauma call.
James’ aunt Abbey Prebushewski confirmed that medical personnel who treated him further down the line told her minutes more without care could have cost him his life. “The surgeon confirmed that if they had not arrived and acted so quickly it would have been a different outcome,” she said.