Quick-thinking helps save man's life after heart attack

Every day first responders are sent to critical situations that are often a matter of life and death. But last month, an emergency found its way to them.

Posted: Mar 6, 2019 2:57 PM
Updated: Mar 7, 2019 11:34 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Every day, first responders are sent to critical situations that are often a matter of life and death. Last month, the situation found its way to them.

On February 6th, Jennifer Griffin and her boyfriend, Tony Brettingham, were on their way back home when Griffin said her boyfriend's health took a turn for the worst.

"He said he felt dizzy and that he was going to faint, so he fainted on me," she said.

From there Griffin said things went downhill quickly.

"I heard him take his last breath," she recalled.

That's when Griffin said she looked up and saw that she was coming up on Fire Station Nine. She knew she had to think quickly.

"I went in and I banged on the door and I told them that he was unresponsive," Griffin said.

Firefighters quickly jumped into action and began giving Brettingham CPR.

"It was a group effort between all the first responders that were there," said St. Joseph firefighter Jake Lilly.

Buchanan County EMS quickly responded to the scene, working with firefighters and using a new tool made for this type of scenario.

"We placed him on our LUCAS device which is our automatic chest compression device," said paramedic Emily Sweet.

The LUCAS device sustained compressions on Brettingham while EMS tended to other life-saving tasks.

While the tool was extremely helpful in this case, first responders credit their quick action and cooperation in helping save Brettingham's life.

"It takes all of us working together and the credit goes to the early recognition that there was a problem," said Sweet. "The early CPR by the firefighters, early defibrillation and then us giving him early medications and defibrillations and getting to the hospital."

As for Brettingham himself, he said he's forever grateful to his girlfriend and the first responders who were just in the right place at the right time.

"I was shocked," said Brettingham. "I couldn't believe I had a heart attack, but to find out I was saved by a big group of people, I appreciate it."

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