After a long lasting artificial respiration and heart massage international students have saved a life of their study mate
On May 10-12, the traditional annual spring weekend trip to Palanga of LSMU international students was organized. This trip was organized in collaboration of the main LSMU international students’ organizations: mentors of the full time first year international students, ICOSA and LSMU ESN. Organizers were also supported by the study coordinators and psychologist of LSMU International Studies and Relations centre. 82 participants, mostly first-year and second-year LSMU full- time and Erasmus students, took part in this trip. Some of the organizers were from senior courses. The purpose of the trip was to bring together LSMU international students so that they would know each other better and could help each other when they face different challenges in Lithuania, far from their home, families and friends. Students participated in team – building activities and sport events. Participants also spent time at the seaside and on Saturday evening everybody had a dinner where all the students met and spent their time together.
Sunday morning started as usual, students were preparing for the day activities, but suddenly, at about 11 am the fifth year student’s Henoch’s heart stopped beating. He did not show any vital signs. Other students quickly called Ambulance, Samah Kamal Abbas and Sia Wejdan started making a heart massage. Second-year students Victoria Schegerer and Nick Delon also joined the resuscitation. Victoria had clinical experience since she has worked as a paramedic in Germany for several years before her studies at LSMU. She usually keeps an Ambu bag in her car, so she has asked her friend to bring it right away. Time was passing very slowly while waiting for the Ambulance. Students continued to ventilate lungs and perform heart massage for almost 15 minutes until the Ambulance arrived. When the defibrillator was connected, ventricular fibrillation was detected. Defibrillation was performed, followed by a relapse of heart activity and breathing, and after that the student was taken to the hospital. The other students helped paramedics upon their arrival and escorted their friend to the hospital.
The event in Palanga shocked not only the students who attended the event but also the entire community of the university. There were a lot of discussions among the witnesses of the event: whether everything was done properly and on time and if there would be any long-term consequences because after all, it took 15 minutes for the paramedics to arrive. It became easier when it became clear that Henoch was completely recovering. Since some of the doctors doubted the fact whether there was a total stop of the heart beating if the condition after was so good, more discussions arose. Dean of the International Relations and Study centre prof. I. Janulevičienė has organized the discussion at the Department of Emergency Medicine in Kaunas clinics, during which not only the questions of the students who participated were answered, but also their emotions were shared. Students also had the opportunity to meet a professional psychologist immediately after the event which is a common practice around the world. Stress and the challenges of saving another person’s life have a profound effect not only on the members of the society who rarely face it, but often even on the medical. Researches have shown that discussion after resuscitation not only has a positive impact on the psychological state of medical staff, but also improves the results of patients with cardiac arrest.
So what really happened that morning? The results of the Klaipėda Hospital audit confirmed that when the doctors arrived at the scene of the event, Henoch had no signs of life, and the defibrillator registered ventricular fibrillation that was successfully defibrillated. No doubt that the main life-saving actions were high quality heart massage and ventilation with a mask. High-band venticular fibrillation, registered by cardio monitor for 15 min. since the beginning of the resuscitation confirmed that students performing manual heart massage created sufficient blood circulation to protect the heart and brain from death.
What lessons do we have to learn after this event? First of all, sudden death can happen to anyone and we have to be prepared for that. Secondly, each member of our community should not only theoretically know, but also have to practice initial resuscitation: make deep and fast heart massage, effective air injections, and perform defibrillation with an automatic external defibrillator. Thirdly, every trained member of our society, whether a medical doctor or not, should join a network that has been established since this March and operates all over Lithuania. Anyone who has done trainings can download the mobile app "AED ALERT" on their mobile device and after registration he/she will get information from a dispatcher about a case of possible resuscitation in less than 750 m. away. The purpose of such network is to create a safer, empathetic and conscious community willing to help a person in distress.
To show appreciation and gratitude of a community of LSMU Victoria, Nick, Sia and Samah have got the certificates of appreciation signed by the Rector of LSMU prof. Remigijus Žaliūnas during the meeting of LSMU senate. The students were awarded for their great awareness, prompt reaction, extraordinary service and accomplishment of a civic virtue, while saving life of a fellow student and for being an example for all other members of LSMU Community.
Henoch: I am very grateful to all my friends and peers, as well as to all doctors and nurses who have saved my life.
Victoria (II): I am very happy that the resuscitation was successful and Henoch returned to a normal life. I was sure we did everything possible in this situation, but I was worried about how such a long heart stop would affect Henoch's health. I`m proud of myself and my friends.
Nick (II): My life experience taught me to rely on the knowledge and skills which I gained during my studies. While I was doing it for the first time, I felt confident because I gained good initial resuscitation skills at the Department of Emergency Medicine in the first year. In the HLAB classes we had to deal with various resuscitation situations during the first aid course, and we had to resuscitate a mannequin many times. Good physical preparation and the skills gained during the resuscitation training course helped me to make high quality chest massage and to notice when the quality of that clicks became insufficient.
Sia (V): Good initial resuscitation skills are required not only for medical staff but also for every member of our society. However, people have more expectations for the doctors, so each student has to be particularly responsible for initial resuscitation skills from the first year. Not everyone understands this yet.
Samah (V): Recently completed module of "Intensive and Emergency Medicine" helped a lot. This course not only updated my initial resuscitation and specialized resuscitation skills, but I also learned that in similar situations you need to act quickly, because every minute is very important.