What began as a normal errand, became a frightening experience for employees at the Lake County Courthouse.
One afternoon in 2016, Shane Matthews, who worked as a Lake County Sheriff’s Office Court Bailiff, realized that the drinking water usually placed in the courtroom for the prosecution and defense was missing.
“I went down the elevator and I went into a hallway when I started not feeling too well,” recalls Matthews. “I just got really, really dizzy, and that's the last thing I remember. I went black.”
William (Bill) Predmore was working in the courthouse as a security company employee and continues the story, “I heard a call come over the radio, we had an officer down, and the location, and I responded. I was the first one, I had seen Shane passed out on the floor,” said Predmore. “Another deputy responded with the AED from hearing the call. After I checked Shane and found out he wasn't breathing, no heartbeat, I started CPR on him immediately.”
Matthews had suffered a heart attack. Fortunately, all courthouse staff, including Matthews, had been trained on using an automatic external defibrillator or AED. The devices are strategically located throughout the building.
We hooked Shane up to the AED and started it up,” continues Predmore. “It directed us to do a shock. So, when it said "clear", we took our hands-off Shane and it shocked him. We continued doing CPR.”
Paramedics soon arrived and Matthews was taken to a hospital where he eventually received a defibrillator and pacemaker.
“Sudden cardiac death or cardiac arrest probably claims over half a million lives in the U.S. alone every year,” said Miguel Bryce, MD, an AdventHealth Waterman cardiac electrophysiologist. “Whenever somebody collapses, you need to check with the patient, be sure the patient is either awake or is having spontaneous breathing. If not, you should start chest compression and call 911 right away.”
Bryce said it’s critical that the brain receives oxygen. That’s why the AED is so beneficial because it delivers electrical current that resets the normal heartbeat and starts the oxygen flow to the brain. The machine offers step-by-step audible instructions as it analyzes the patient’s heart rhythm.
“It tells you exactly where to put the patches on the body,” said Bryce “It will tell you shock the patient or do not shock the patient because the machine will know if the patient has a rhythm or not and if it has a rhythm that requires a defibrillator therapy.”
“I was told in the hospital that everything worked perfectly, and if they were to wait too long, I could have ended up brain damaged or not survive it. The reason I survived is because we had one in close proximity,” states Matthews. “I will certainly remember that day, even though I wasn't really totally there. I've had three more birthdays, I got to enjoy my grandson, my sons, their wives, all the good life experiences for three years. It's pretty special.”
AED’s are often located in public places such as shopping malls, schools and sports facilities. AdventHealth Waterman encourages everyone to locate the nearest AED where you work, play and visit. Timing is everything during a serious heart event, and the AED can help save your life or someone else’s.
Learn more about the heart care available in your local community at AdventHealth Waterman.