If you ever questioned the importance of C.P.R. or the need for Automated External Defibrillators (AED's) in public places, we have more proof that both are life savers. 54 year old Rod Fieldsend from Sioux Falls and long time Nurse Anesthetist collapsed at the Avera McKennan Fitness Center 4 weeks ago from sudden cardiac arrest. Only 2% of the those who experience this walk away from the hospital. He's one of them thanks to a good samaritan and a defibrillator.
Rod Fieldsend and his son J.R. are often seen together either on the golf course or on the basketball court, but for now on the couch will certainly do while Rod recovers from open heart surgery. For all intense and purposes Rod died in front of his son's eyes Tuesday night September 23rd at the Avera McKennan Fitness Center.
Rod says, "I remember finishing the game. It was a great basketball game of course my team lost because I was playing against J.R. and his team is usually really good."
J.R. says, "We played one full game, one really hard game. We went up and got a drink of water."
J.R. got a drink first, his Dad was right behind him. J.R. headed back down to the court followed by Rod, but as Rod walked down the steps he noticed we was getting dizzy and thought to himself, I better sit myself down. That was the last thing he remembered."
J.R. says, "I heard players yelling my dad's name. I turned around there he was collapsed on the floor completely unresponsive."
Robin says, "I was upstairs working out on a treadmill and I heard a code blue to the basketball court."
J.R. says, "When I first ran up to him..... the look on his face (deep breath). To see him pass away before my eyes was the most helpless felling I've ever had in my entire life."
J.R. says he is glad he had the where-with-all to call for the AED (an Automated External Defibrillator), but he thanks God Robin Thompson, an R.N. and colleague, was there to get the patches on Rod and perform C.P.R. because he wasn't breathing.
Rod says, "If that AED wouldn't have been there it's not too hard to think this would have been a much different story."
Robin says, "I'm a nurse and I've see seen a lot of death in the hospital. when I first got down to the court and saw him he was cyanotic and became very grey. It seemed like it took forever to get him to come back, but it wasn't. Within 5 minutes we had a heart beat, within 10 minutes he was breathing and sitting up. He pinked right up. The first question he asked was 'did I dunk the basketball?' He thought he was still in the middle of the game."
Rod says, "it's hard to put in to words what she did for me. Thanks just doesn't do it justice. I She is my life saver. She was my angel that was there and everyone needs those."
Robin tears up and says, "A lot of people say that and I don't see it that way. I was in the right place at the right time. Death was not an option. Everything just lined up. I wasn't about to lose. I couldn't. Rod means too much to me, to the hospital, to his family. We couldn't lose him. From that day, September 23rd, my life has changed tremendously and I know so has Rod's. Life is far too short. You need to take care of yourself. "
Rod ended up having 6 coronary bi-passes to correct the severe blockage in his arteries at the Avera Heart Hospital 2 days after he collapsed. He's now in cardiac rehab with a new prospective on life.
"I feel like I'm the luckiest guy in the world, " Rod said. With tears streaming down his face and a long pause he says, " I still get to see my grandkids. My friends and my family."
A second chance at life made possible by an AED that was only seconds away.
Thanks to the partnership between the Avera Heart Hospital and Sioux Falls Fire Rescue about 800 AED's have been placed in Sioux Falls and in surrounding communities. If organizations want to buy one, the Heart Hospital sells them at cost and make no profit on it. Contact them for more information 605-977-7000.