'He didn't have a pulse, he wasn't breathing': fire crew recalls rare heart attack save

MANDEVILLE --  On March 31, a call came in to St. Tammany Fire District #4's B-Shift at Station 42 as an unresponsive person.

It's described by firefighters as one of the worst medical calls to get.When crews arrived at the Mandeville address,  the reality was even more grim.

"He didn't have a pulse, he wasn't breathing. He was on his sofa," said paramedic Jeremy Windom.

That's when the work to save Mike Vannoy's life went into overdrive.

"We had one doing compressions, one setting up the machines, they had other ones doing IV's, getting medications ready, getting monitors set up," said Firefighter and RN Brian Diodene.  The CPR efforts went between manual and mechanical, with hope among the crew never wavering.

"They used to call it at 20 minutes, now we work people for 30 minutes," said firefighter Thomas Novoa, "We got his pulse back at like 19:30."

"When I heard them say something about a pulse, or blood pressure, or something to that effect, I was like..." sighed Melanie Vannoy, the patient's wife.

"I was telling him, I was looking right at him and saying, 'Okay Mike, you've gotta work for us now," said Capt. Mike Soule.

While getting a pulse back in this case was truly exceptional, the very rare part of the call was that that pulse stayed all the way to the hospital, through the hospital stay and became strong enough for the patient to go home healthy in two weeks.

"This particular scene to us was a terrific success, it was phenomenal for us," said Soule.

Windom said, "It makes you remember why we got into this profession."

The B-shift not only made a visit to the hospital before Vannoy's release, but they've gotten visits from him since he's been home.

"We've been back a couple of times," said Vannot, "Tell them thank you, tell them hello."

"Getting a hug from a former patient, like what we're saying, the percentages as far as we see as outcomes, it's huge," said firefighter Josh Jones.

Though Vannoy says he remembers nothing of the heart attack, he'll never forget the heroes that gave him this second chance at life.

"They're mine," he said. "They are my heroes."

The firefighter's say Vannoy's case stresses the importance of getting trained in CPR.  To sign up for training with the Red Cross, visit: http://www.redcross.org/local/louisiana/take-a-class/health-and-safety
 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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