Monday, April 5, 2010

Carla Adams: In the Right Place at the Right Time

A couple of days ago at a Fauquier High baseball game, Carla Adams, senior director of patient care at Fauquier Health, got a hug from a retired D.C. firefighter she had met only a week before. The hug was a thank you for saving his life.

On March 19, during an earlier game at the high school, a man suddenly collapsed in the bleachers. Carla got to him quickly and found he wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse. She looked up and saw a young man -- the Fauquier High School athletic trainer -- already in position to start CPR. They worked together and Joan Bunn, a middle school nurse, stepped in to help with compressions, too.

Carla said, “I wondered aloud if there was an AED (automated external defibrillator) nearby and within two minutes, it appeared. I remember looking around and seeing all that metal on the bleachers. I yelled, ‘Clear the bleachers! Now!’ and everybody ran off the bleachers.” (Carla worried that anyone remaining on the bleachers might get an electrical shock from the AED.)

The AED shocked the man’s heart into action and Carla found a thready pulse. That pulse grew stronger as the rescuers continued CPR. Then the rescue squad arrived and the patient -- breathing on his own -- was helped onto a stretcher by some of the men in the crowd.

“The AED really made the difference,” said Carla.

Brian, the FHS athletic trainer on the scene, told Carla that the school’s athletic Booster Club bought the AED, and he carried it with him to whichever field he was working on.

Carla had lots of praise for everyone: “Brian was wonderful, his compressions were perfect; the nurse who helped was right there when we needed her; and everyone at the field cooperated beautifully.”
Although the patient and his family might disagree, Carla takes no special credit for her part in the drama.

She said, “Any healthcare worker would have done the same.”

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