FORT DERUSSY, Hawaii -- A guest of the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki returned to the hotel 13 days after suffering a cardiac arrest to thank the people who saved his life.
George Adkins, a 72-year-old veteran from Blacksburg, Virginia, and frequent guest at the Hale Koa, was at the Barefoot Bar on May 13, when he suddenly blacked out and went into cardiac arrest.
The bartender, Rex Bermundo, who had befriended Adkins during his previous stays at the hotel over the past 16 years, noticed that Adkins was slumped over and went to check on him after radioing 911.
Adkins was unresponsive, not breathing and exhibiting no signs of pulse -- his heart had stopped. Within seconds of Bermundo's 911 call, hotel security personnel arrived on the scene and, with the help of bystanders, initiated CPR and deployed an automated external defibrillator (AED) on Adkins in an attempt to restore normal heart rhythm and blood circulation.
"Adkins was showing no signs of life when we reached him," said Dustin Truman, Hale Koa assistant manager on duty, who assisted in the initial CPR and AED procedures. "While the others conducted CPR, I assisted with the AED process, which seemed to help revive his heartbeat."
Within minutes, the Honolulu Police Department was on the scene and administered high-performance CPR and continuous chest compressions. Emergency Medical Services and Honolulu Fire Department personnel arrived soon, thereafter, and assumed medical responsibility. They transported Adkins to the Straub Clinic and Hospital, where doctors put two stints in Adkins' arteries to restore blood flow to and from the heart.
Adkins' partner of 21 years, Sue Elliot, had accompanied him on the trip, but was not at the Barefoot Bar when he went into cardiac arrest. She was quickly summoned to the scene.
"I ran as fast as I could, hoping they had not already taken George to the hospital," Elliot said. "I was so relieved to learn he had not passed away and that I could go with him in the ambulance to the hospital."
For Adkins, thanking those who saved his life was his top priority before leaving Hawaii; however, he was overcome with emotion when the moment arrived.
"When I stood in front of everyone who had saved my life, the impact of what they had done hit me. I got emotional and all I could say was thank you, thank you," said Adkins after shaking everyone's hands and grabbing a glass of water. "If it were not for all of them, I would not be here today. I owe them my life, especially the hotel staff who quickly administered CPR and the AED. It is so comforting to know that the hotel staff conducts this type of emergency training and can perform it in real situations."
The responders said they were just doing their job, and while they were gracious in receiving Adkins' gratitude, they said the real reward was knowing he had lived.
"It's good to hear and to personally see that Mr. Adkins survived. More often than not, we don't know if patients survive after EMS takes them to the hospital," said Honolulu Police Officer T. Kim, one of the police officers who responded to the emergency call and administered CPR. "All we can do is pray that they make it. This time Mr. Adkins did make it and that's great news."