Officials say a 44-year-old Southeast man went into cardiac arrest—which prompted those around him to deliver an electric shock via an automated external defibrillator (AED)—while attending a recent event on the Brewster Central School District campus.
Members of the Brewster Fire Department (BFD) and the New York State Police responded to the incident around 4:25 p.m. Wednesday. The man, who survived, was reportedly standing in the bleachers, near the turf field, when he fell to the floor in an unconscious state and began convulsing.
Half a dozen parents—many of whom just happen to work or volunteer in the emergency response field—attending the same event rushed to the man's side. A teacher removed the young children from the area, as the man was shaking and vomiting. His breathing was irregular, witnesses told Patch.
By the time police and BFD members arrived on the scene, the group had used the AED to deliver electric shocks in an attempt to steady the man's heart rhythm. One parent sprinted hundreds of yards to one of the schools—and back—to retrieve the device. Another ran to his vehicle and grabbed a face mask used to administer CPR. Others stayed with the man and delivered chest compressions.
"Everybody started to do something," Southeast resident Paul Castle, a member of the FDNY, said. "It was a big group effort, like a well-oiled machine."
Officials transported the man, who was still unconscious, to Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel. Later that night, he was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla. He had reportedly regained consciousness by that time.
"He was lucky. It could've been much worse," Castle said.
Mike Frey, a Putnam Lake resident and FDNY member who was also on the scene, said the use of the AED was "huge." The man was not without oxygen for very long either, he added.
"It's always nice when you can help someone," Frey said. "I'm just happy he's OK."
Neither Castle nor Frey knew the man very well. Some of the other parents who helped were strangers, too.