BY JIM JONES, DHHS OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
When Tom Mitchell, Chuck Lewis and Wally Ainsworth were enjoying a lunch break Monday at the N.C. Farmer’s Market Restaurant in Raleigh they noticed that the lady who had been sitting behind them had paid her bill and gone out the door. Moments later, they saw her on the ground, receiving CPR from a passerby as someone called out, “Is there a doctor in the restaurant?”
The three scrambled from their table and ran outside to see how they could help. Ainsworth and Mitchell relieved the person administering CPR. Lewis made sure the lady’s airways were clear. The three set about keeping the lady alive while a passerby called 911.
The situation was a full cardiac arrest – a code blue. Given her situation, the lady could not have arranged for better pre-hospital care. It turns out the passerby who started CPR was a nurse. Mitchell is assistant chief of DHHS’s N.C. Office of Emergency Medical Services, Ainsworth is Central Regional OEMS manager and Lewis is Western Regional OEMS manager. All three have been credentialed paramedics for 20 or more years.
There was no automatic external defibrillator (AED) available, so the three kept the chest compressions going for several minutes until Wake County EMS arrived.
“We just worked as a team to help her out until EMS arrived,” Mitchell said. “It was teamwork all the way. Wally would do compressions for a while, and then I would do them. Chuck kept her airway open. She came around a couple of times, and then would slip back. Once EMS got there, they put a defibrillator on her and that made all the difference. She was talking with them when they left.”
“Your quick response and coordinated teamwork exemplify what’s so outstanding about our employees at DHHS and within the Office of Emergency Services in the Division of Health Service Regulation,” said Secretary Aldona Wos. “The people of our state are fortunate that you make your homes here and your careers with DHHS.”
Regina Godette-Crawford, chief of OEMS, branded the day’s events as a “perfect example of the great partnership and collaborative spirit by which EMS operates in North Carolina. The patient was resuscitated and the continuum of care never wavered. I’m grateful to both our OEMS and Wake EMS teams for providing excellent patient care.”