Three Burton firefighters made a "once-in-a-career" rescue last month when they revived a man having a heart attack, with some help from his wife and a neighbor.
Lt. Jon Mosher, Engineer Eric Chapman and Firefighter Andrew Wright were the first responders to the cardiac-arrest call April 27. When they arrived about four minutes after the 2:56 p.m. call, they found 25-year-old Burton resident David Frick unconscious and not breathing.
Frick's wife, Christie, and neighbor Daniel Harrell were performing CPR. Christie Frick was providing compressions while Harrell handled rescue breathing.
The firefighters quickly took over, with Chapman and Mosher performing CPR and Wright preparing to use an automatic external defibrillator on Frick's heart.
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Frick said he later was told that his heart had stopped. Mosher said Frick was clinically dead in his front yard until the defibrillator restarted his heart.
"He started to become conscious, so the firefighters told him, 'If you can hear me, blink your eyes,' " Lt. John Ireland said. "He was able to do that, and eventually he started moaning. In the ambulance, he was able to tell the paramedics his chest hurt."
Frick said paramedics told him he had asked them where his wife was. By the time they reached the hospital, the patient was conscious, alert and talking -- a rarity for heart-attack victims.
"Doctors didn't think they were in the right room because of his condition," Mosher said.
It was the first time Chapman and Wright had used the defibrillator in the field, and just Mosher's second. Frick's quick recovery was like nothing they had seen before.
"We were able to deliver a conscious patient to the EMS crew," Chapman said. "In a case like this, it's unique. It doesn't happen often."
The firefighters have visited Frick's home twice to see how he is doing and to thank his wife and neighbors for their quick actions. Frick said the truck spooked his neighbors, who thought something else had happened.
"It was awesome that they came by," he said. "It was unexpected, but I really want to thank them for coming by."
Frick said he had been working outside when he felt lightheaded. After that, he doesn't remember much. Christie Frick, a nurse, said her first thought was that her husband had been stung by a bee, but she quickly realized it was much more serious.
"I saw him turning blue," she said. "That's when I realized something was really wrong. I've been a nurse for four years, but I never had to perform CPR on a patient I was caring for."
She performed chest compressions, directing Harrell to start rescue breathing while his daughter called emergency services.
"I wanted him to do the rescue breathing because he wasn't trained and because I knew from training how important good compressions were," she said.
The firefighters stressed that Christie Frick's quick use of CPR greatly increased her husband's chances for survival.
"If you want to learn CPR, we teach it here," Ireland said of the fire department.
That lesson wasn't lost on Frick.
"As soon as I'm back to 100 percent, I'm going to get trained," he said.
Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.