A Heart Overwhelmed with Thankfulness


AMR Crew Meets Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Survivor By Lucie Drum, Manager, Community/Media Relations

On the afternoon of Feb. 4th, 2011, Edward Darnell, Facilities Supervisor at Damascus Christian School, was beginning to feel ill. Bystanders at the school took his blood pressure and called 9-1-1. They also hooked him up to an AED on site and the unit delivered one shock prior to the arrival of EMS. AMR Clackamas County Medic 207 (Paramedic Mike Miller and his partner Brett Hooper, EMT-I) were just three minutes away. Mike recalls, “We found Mr. Darnell in very cramped quarters. Part of the time we provided care while lying underneath the desks.” Darnell, 56, went in and out of consciousness as he went in and out of V-fib (ventricular fibrillation). He was having a STEMI heart attack (ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction), was defibrillated many times and treated for refractory V-fib. AMR 207 transported him to Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center where Darnell received coronary angioplasty (a technique to dilate blockage) at Kaiser’s Heart Center and a Stent (tube) placed in the blocked artery in his heart. “The last thing I remember was sitting at a desk with a blanket and then woke up four days later in the hospital. They told me I had a heart attack and died,” says Darnell, “when I thanked my doctors, they said it was the EMS responders who saved my life.”

In April, Darnell decided he would “pay it forward” and requested a meeting with our crew. “I had to come meet them. My heart is overwhelmed with thankfulness,” says Darnell.On April 12th, he met the AMR crew who saved his life. A crowd gathered at Clackamas Operations when the charming and very healthy looking Edward Darnell arrived. Hugs and handshakes were given all around. Manager Paul Priest, Training Officer Tina Beeler, Supervisor Tim Seidel, Community/Media Relations Manager Lucie Drum, and Nurse Karyn Versteeg, shared the touching moment. Paul Priest presented Mr. Darnell with several AMR gifts as our thanks to him.

“In my 20 years in EMS this was the first time a patient came to say ‘thanks,” said Paramedic Mike Miller. Darnell returned to work at the school on March 16th, just five weeks after his heart attack. He was told the third graders at school saw the EMS response and their teachers had the children pray for him. The students are thrilled with his recovery and still check in with him to this day. There is also an element of irony in this story—the man whose job was to maintain the AED at the school was the first one to use it. Friends have labeled the AED, “Tested and Approved by Ed Darnell.”

Ed's note: I was told by the staff at work that when I collapsed there was a nurse visiting with the Pastor and she started CPR immediately while Pastor Steve applied the A.E.D and when the 911 dispatch call went out the AMR ambulance was passing through Damascus on Hwy 212 running an errand and had only to turn onto Rust Way to arrive within 3 minutes. God had everything and everyone in place for helping me survive.