Airman Saves Man’s Life After Heart Attack at Gym

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JOINT BASE MDL-When a man at Griffith Field House went into cardiac arrest on Jan. 7, the quick thinking of Joint Base MDL community members saved his life.

First on scene, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. James Blackledge, 621st Air Mobility Operations Squadron airlift requirements planner, was exercising on an elliptical trainer when he heard the thud of a man hitting the ground. Blackledge checked for signs of life and found the man had no pulse and was not breathing.

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“I immediately began using CPR while I was looking around the room for a defibrillator,” said Blackledge. “I ran to the front of the gym and notified the staff about what was going on.”

Gym staff members accompanied Blackledge back to the dying man and used the defibrillator while notifying emergency responders.

Within minutes, firefighters were on the scene trying to stabilize the man who was still not breathing. It was a race against time for the ambulance crew who arrived next and took control of the situation.

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“We saw the firefighters doing chest compressions and using the defibrillator paddles,” said U.S. Staff Sgt. Jessica McDaniel, 87th Aerospace Medicine Squadron medical technician. “We knew it was the real deal so we just jumped in and assisted.”

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The emergency medical service Airmen worked on and successfully revived the man. Immediately after, the man was taken via ambulance to a local hospital.

“I can’t believe how smooth that call went because that’s a pretty serious call and there are so many hands on and so many people around,” said McDaniel. “Everyone worked so well together.”

The incident was over just 14 minutes after it began.

“In a situation like this, you might feel panic in here,” said Blackledge, pointing to his chest. “But, out there, you need to remain focused, in control and keep the situation moving forward.”

Thanks to the efforts of everyone involved, as of Jan. 16, the man is out of the hospital with a second chance.

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