After the decision was made to have me blog for the Health and Safety Department of the Oregon Trail Chapter, the discussion quickly turned to what would be the subject of my first post. It wasn’t a long discussion; it was a no-brainer.
I recently attended an annual event called the Breakfast of Champions. It’s the Oregon Trail Chapter’s main fundraiser at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. It was my first opportunity to attend the event as I am a relatively new employee with the OTC, but I certainly hope it won’t be my last. I was told for weeks prior to the breakfast how special it was, but nothing could prepare me for it. It was, in a word, phenomenal. I couldn’t do it justice to try to describe it here, so I won’t try. What I will do is share just a glimpse of a few of the “champions” the breakfast honored.
The Healthcare Heroes were a very moving story:
- The week after being certified in Red Cross first aid and CPR, Dr. Ronald Megyesi, Corinne Coles, and Heather Wilde of Powell Valley Chiropractic Clinic in Gresham never expected they would have to put their training to use. Longtime client Bill Smith went into sudden cardiac arrest during his appointment and the trio went into action, calling 9-1-1 and administering CPR until EMTs arrived. . . .
Bill is fun, trusting, a joy to be around. I’ve adopted him as my grandfather. He’s usually cheerful; Bill jokes with us, but he wasn’t cheery that day; he wasn’t himself at all. I went out to the reception area. . . . Then the doctor went in and shut the door. Within two minutes I heard, ‘Heather!’ and ‘Call 9-1-1.’ I can still hear him say that today.
It was just like the Red Cross movie. (She means the CPR training video.) And we had just taken the class! We knew where we were supposed to be. We all knew our roles. ‘This is it’ the doctor said. ‘This is our time.’ We started rescue breathing and chest compressions. . . . We had to keep going for four minutes—the longest four minutes of our lives—before the emergency vehicles came in and got him stabilized.
You realize that you’re the only person—or group—that’s there, and you’re going to help this person survive. It’s ‘this is it.’ It’s an odd feeling that a person’s life is in your hands.
I’ve taken Red Cross my whole life. . . . You don’t realize how important it is to pay attention in those classes!
Everyone loves Bill. He’s like a father. It was a very emotional experience.
- Dr. Megyesi’s Story
In those four minutes before the fire department got there, I started doing CPR. Heather reminded me about the updated new compression ratio. We took turns holding the oxygen mask, and kept following the procedure for CPR. There was no panic, but lots of anxiety! In 24 years, this is the only thing like this that’s ever happened.
We didn’t panic. Everybody was right on, doing their things, especially Corrine and Heather. We took Red Cross classes many times, so we were prepared to act, and we were calm and organized—under the circumstances! That’s the importance of CPR training. It gives you a basis to start from, you can say you know there’s something I can do, a protocol to follow, and I’m ready to go.
- Corinne’s Story
Every year we take the Red Cross class. Just that Saturday we went in for our class, and we’re glad we did; that week we needed to use the skills.
It was in our head, what to do. There were three of us, which was perfect: one to assist the Doctor and take turns with him, and one to make the call. I ran to the phone and dialed 9-1-1. . . . I was told to go to the door and show them how to get in to the office. I ran out to meet them on the sidewalk and show them the way. That was my job; that was what I had to do.
When Bill comes into the office now, it feels like, “yay, there’s Bill!” I’m glad he’s doing so well.
- Bill’s Story
I remember leaving my house, but nothing else. I had plans to go to the store and replace my propane tank after the appointment. I don’t know how I got there, I was on automatic. Then I was at the hospital. . . .
They are friends. I admire them. Dr. Megyesi saved my life. He did. It was close.
It’s very important, CPR training. I was in the coast guard and we had to practice CPR constantly. It’s very important; you can save lives with that knowledge. And I’m glad they’re getting defibrillators in more places.
It’s great they are recognized as heroes. These are everyday people. I’m glad that the training to learn CPR is there. It saved my life. It did.
This was just one of many accounts that had me on the verge of tears all morning. These people, as well as all of the people honored at that fundraiser, are heroes. Whether it was a teenager rushing into a burning house to save his little sister, a dachshund taking on a rottweiler to save his hearing-impaired owner from injury, or employees at a chiropractic clinic deciding to get trained in CPR, the Oregon Trail Chapter honored all of these heroes at the Breakfast of Champions. It was an event that I’ll never forget.
Perhaps more importantly, we sell first aid/CPR/AED training every day to companies that should likewise be honored. By getting trained, they are being prepared to step in one day when it’s their turn.
Our hats are off to all of you!