By Adriane Foss, Editor, APG NewsMarch 24, 2011
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - One Aberdeen Proving Ground contractor is alive and looking forward to bass fishing again on the Susquehanna River thanks to a fellow contractor's ability to perform CPR.
Patrick Meehan, a contractor with Benfield Electric, was installing conduits in an empty building on post the morning of Feb. 14 when friend and coworker Danny Miller, without warning, slumped to the floor.
Meehan shot into action, stretching out Miller's unconscious body, and began the cardiopulmonary resuscitation that Aberdeen Proving Ground fire and rescue workers credit with helping save Miller's life.
"I was struggling; I was scared and questioning myself," said Meehan, who had casually taken a CPR class offered by his company two years prior. "I never dreamed I would have to use CPR, never practiced it, so I wasn't sure if I was doing it right."
At one point, Meehan stopped performing the chest compressions and rescue breathing that he felt were clumsy and useless.
"And then I saw his face turn blue, and I knew that what I had been doing was working, so I started up again, and I saw his color come back," he said.
Meehan said he continued CPR until APG's fire and emergency services personnel arrived. Once the emergency medical professionals took over, he said he walked away, exhausted and discouraged.
"I was upset. I was crying. I was sure he was dead," said Meehan.
APG Assistant Fire Chief David Smith continued CPR while paramedic's shocked Miller's heart with an AED, or automated external defibrillator. A heartbeat was detected and Miller was stabilized before being transported to an area hospital where he would recover for two weeks.
Miller visited the APG Fire Department March 11 to thank Meehan, Smith and the APG emergency responders who gave him a second chance at life. Garrison and emergency personnel officials were also present to present Meehan with a certificate of recognition for his life-saving efforts.
Miller said he expects a clean bill of health from his doctor and hopes to return to work soon.
He said he knows how fortunate he is to be alive and is looking forward to finally going on the fishing trip that he and Meehan never took time out for.
According to APG Fire and Emergency Services Assistant Chief Michael Slayman, "only about 7 percent of people survive cardiac arrest in the field. Irreversible brain damage or death are the norms for most of these victims, so this was a very rare occasion."
Slayman said APG emergency responders spend a lot of time training the civilian workforce in CPR and utilization of an AED.
"We have trained over 10,000 personnel here at APG over time," he said, "so there's a pretty good chance that if you're on APG and something happens, a sudden cardiac event, somebody's going to know CPR.
"There's also a pretty good chance that there is going to be an AED on the wall somewhere nearby because we have 346 fielded throughout APG," he said.
CPR/AED classes are offered the third Wednesday of every month and can be scheduled by calling APG Fire Departments EMS Division at 410-306-0572.