RAMSEY, Minn. (WCCO) — It began as any Thursday night at the Outpost Bar and Grill in Ramsey, with folks talking and laughing as they enjoyed a libation, a little dinner and possibly a few chances at pull tabs.
Amy Miller and her husband were about to leave just as a 65-year-old man collapsed to the floor.
“He was blue, his lips were blue, his fingers blue and he wasn’t looking good,” she said.
That’s when a traveling nurse from California, who happened to stop in on his way to go ice fishing, began chest compressions. Miller performed CPR when she worked at Mercy Hospital and began assisting with mouth-to-mouth breathing.
Fortunately, the Outpost had an automated external defibrillator, or AED, within easy reach on the bar’s wall. It was purchased and donated by the Ramsey Lion’s Club, using money generated by the charitable pull tab revenues.
Outpost owner Jim DuCharme recalls requesting the AED a few years ago and believes it was the first time a cardiac emergency necessitated its use.
“It’s not a machine you ever anticipate using, or want to use, but last night we were fortunate enough that it saved a man’s life,” he said.
With two simple shocks from the defibrillator, the man’s heart jumped back into rhythm.
“We shocked him once and it didn’t do anything, so we proceeded to do chest compressions and breathing,” Miller said. “We shocked him again and he came to.”
Amazingly, the man was conscious and alert when paramedics arrived and transported him to the hospital.
“That AED was placed there by them and they got to use it,” said Tim Hoffman, himself a cardiac arrest survivor thanks to the life-saving device.
Hoffman now runs Ramsey’s Heart Safe program and credits the Lion’s charitable pull tab dollars for buying a number of the AEDs for distribution around the city. He knows that without immediate cardiac care, most often the outlook isn’t very good.
“The survival rate is about five to 7 percent,” he said. “We’re trying to change that and we did last night.”
Just in the city of Ramsey, the Heartsafe program has located over 100 AEDs in businesses, schools, squad cars and fitness gyms.
The victim’s daughter said she’s happy to say he’s doing well, and extremely thankful for both the AED and for those who stepped in to use it.