Posted on 08/18/2021
Jacob Labinski
Jacob Labinski

Since I wasn’t present at the event, I will let Jake describe what happened.

“I have always participated in athletics and spend every Wednesday evening playing pick-up basketball with my friends at a local school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We’re a very average group of men, all in our early 30s, but one Wednesday night pick-up basketball game turned out to be “not-so-average”. When we were about to begin the final game that evening, one of my friends suddenly and unexpectedly fell to the ground hard, not moving and shaking slightly. Huddling around him, it was apparent to me that no one knew how to help.

“Although I was terrified, at the same time, my previous CPR training took over. I squeezed myself between the other players and assessed his responsiveness and breathing. He was unconscious and only had an occasional gasp! I directed another player to “call 911”! I also knew we needed an AED and recalled that in Wisconsin, Project ADAM is well known for providing an AED for every school in the State. Because it was after hours, I directed two other players to find a defibrillator somewhere in the school and bring it back to the gym as quickly as possible.

“My friend was lying face down, partially propped up by his brother. I worked with his brother to reposition him on his back and assessed again. Still unconscious with a rare gasping breath!

“Just as I was about to start CPR, one of the two AED searchers came flying into the gym with the Project ADAM AED he found. I hit the AED power button, placed the pads on his chest, and seconds later we heard the words “Shock Advised.” I cleared, delivered the shock, and immediately began chest compressions. Two minutes later I stopped chest compressions, analyzed, and the AED told us “Shock Advised” again. I delivered the second shock and another player then took over compressions.

“About 30 seconds later, my friend began fighting against the chest compressions and suddenly shouted “Get off my chest!” A short while later, the paramedics arrived and took over care of my friend, who was now speaking with them and cracking jokes as though nothing had happened. He was transported to the hospital and, ultimately, underwent an urgent coronary artery bypass for severe coronary artery disease.

“A year later, my friend returned to the basketball court and continues to spend every Wednesday night playing pick-up basketball. When his cardiac arrest occurred, he and his wife had been trying to have a baby and, when recovered, they welcomed the birth of their first son. So…. he is here with us today, still playing basketball. His wife has a husband. Together they have their first child. And I still have a friend.”

Nominated by Tom P. Aufderheide, MD, MS, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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