Posted on 12/12/2017

PITTSBURGH, PA--Illinois high school student Brendan Gould has been named winner of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation’s People Saving People Award for saving his father’s life with CPR. The People Saving People Award honors “ordinary” people with extraordinary spirits who help save the lives of SCA victims. The purpose of the award is to increase awareness about the critical need for laypersons to be prepared to intervene in sudden cardiac emergencies. The announcement and award presentation took place at the Citizen CPR Foundation’s Emergency Cardiovascular Care Update conference on December 8 in New Orleans, LA.

On February 6, 2016, Brendan, then 16, had been speaking with his father, Tom Gould, at their home in Barrington, when Tom suddenly collapsed, became unresponsive and stopped breathing. Brendan immediately called 911 and fortunately, CenCom 911 dispatcher Jeff Callaghan was trained in giving CPR instructions. After discerning that Tom was in cardiac arrest, Callaghan coached Brendan in giving “hands-only” CPR, instructing him to pump hard and fast on Tom’s chest.

As the 911 call recording reveals, Brendan was remarkably calm in his efforts to resuscitate his father. “My dad’s lips are turning purple,” Brendan told the dispatcher on the recording. “What do I do?”

"I thought I was talking to an adult," Callaghan said. "He was not frantic at all. He was amazing, no panicking."

Brendan started CPR and also directed his younger sister Grace to remain downstairs and be on the lookout for first responders. Her actions turned out to be crucial, since she was able to flag down police officer Rita Kelly and get help more quickly. When Kelly arrived, she took over CPR. The Barrington Fire Department arrived minutes later and they shocked Tom with a defibrillator five times before his heart began to beat normally again.

Tom spent 11 days in the hospital, underwent therapeutic hypothermia, and was later discharged with an implantable cardiac defibrillator. He said his recovery has gone smoothly and he is as back to normal as he can be.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation representatives Mary Newman, president, and Matthew Strauss presented the award to Brendan. Strauss, a dedicated volunteer for the Foundation, also saved a life when he was in high school.

“Everyone is a winner when people nearby act quickly and decisively to help victims of sudden cardiac arrest,” said Newman. “As such, it was very difficult to select just one case to highlight for the People Saving People Award. But we felt that Brendan’s case exemplifies the critical importance of calling 911, following dispatcher instructions, and starting CPR immediately when sudden cardiac arrest occurs.”

Brendan’s case also highlights the importance of CPR training in schools. Illinois is one of 37 states, plus the District of Columbia, that now require CPR education before high school graduation. Brendan was scheduled to learn CPR at Barrington High School two days after he saved his father's life. Now Tom and Brendan speak regularly at the high school when students learn CPR.

“If someone goes down, you should stay calm, take out your phone, call 911, and start CPR,” said Brendan. “You should take CPR very seriously. It is really important. It’s a life-long skill.”

For his accomplishments, Brendan was presented with the People Saving People Award and an automated external defibrillator donated by ZOLL Medical Corporation. Laerdal Medical Corporation also supported the award presentation.

In accepting the award, Brendan thanked his family, the first responders, and God, who was with him, he said, throughout the ordeal. “I love you, dad,” said Brendan.

SOURCE: Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation

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