Saturday, May 16th, 2009
Celina medics to receive state award for life saving effort
By Margie Wuebker
Participants in a rescue run that yielded Star of Life honors for Celina Fire De. . .
The 911 call sounded ominous - a man down on the 13th hole at Northmoor Golf Course not breathing with CPR under way.
Celina Fire Department medics Chris Cline, Brian Davis, Lt. Bob Schulte and Matt Schlater remember the call as if it were yesterday and not July 23 of last year.
"The man just collapsed and had no history of heart problems," Cline says. "We started getting everything ready - the monitor, the IV setups, things like that."
Bob Yahl, a 69-year-old St. Marys resident, recalls nothing about his collapse or the worried faces of his brother Joe Yahl and fellow golfer Jerry Bergman who took turns performing CPR while Bart Beck called for help on a cell phone.
The 9-minute ride from the fire department to the golf course east of Celina seemed like an eternity for the crew, but the sound of the wailing siren approaching was music to those working methodically over Bob Yahl's prone figure.
It did not take long to determine he was in bad shape - no pulse and a bluish cast to the skin. The monitor showed erratic heart action not conducive to sustaining life.
"It was CPR at the scene that kept the brain alive and blood flowing," Cline said as his cohorts nodded in agreement. "Those men did everything right thanks to classes they had taken."
The medics worked quickly intubating their patient and establishing two IVs. One jolt from the defibrillator changed Yahl's heart pattern to another less-than-desirable rhythm. The ambulance sped from the scene as the men inside worked feverishly administering four doses of medication, delivering additional defibrillation and performing CPR.
Bob Schulte says the heart monitor showed normal sinus rhythm as the ambulance approached Joint Township District Memorial Hospital in St. Marys. The patient began moving on the gurney and taking oxygen into his lungs.
Bob Yahl does not recall arriving at the hospital or being loaded aboard a helicopter for transfer to St. Rita's Medical Center in Lima. He awakened 21/2 days later to learn cardiologists had implanted a pacemaker and defibrillator.
The scenario will play out another time on Wednesday as he and the three bystanders head to Columbus to watch the four medics receive a Star of Life award from the Ohio Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians. The distinction honors 10 EMS squads - one from each region in the state - for exemplary service on the "front line."
Celina Fire Chief Doug Kuhn called the run exceptional in many ways in a statement accompanying the nomination form. He cited the 5-mile distance from the station, a response in the 9-minute range and the initiation of lifesaving CPR by "some very heroic bystanders" which gave Yahl a chance of surviving.
"Our personnel's knowledge and ability to perform under pressure was tested due to the many different rhythms presented by the patient," Kuhn said. "And finally, the patient's outcome is not to be overlooked. It is my understanding he has no permanent disabilities."
Although the medics appreciate the award, their greatest satisfaction came some weeks ago when Yahl and the others came to the fire station.
"The neatest part was seeing him walking and talking," Cline says. "He certainly didn't look like the man we saw that day on the golf course."
Yahl, a Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. retiree, considers himself a lucky man in more ways than one. Even the doctors are surprised at the way he rebounded.
"I had planned to go to our cottage at Harmon's Landing that day and do some fishing," he says. "Then my brother called about playing golf. If I had not accepted his invitation, I would have been out on the lake fishing with no one around to do CPR."
He chuckles a bit about the medics looking as if they were seeing a ghost when he walked into the fire department. And then he shares some philosophy he once acquired from a 93-year-old woman. The words have a deeper meaning in the wake of his unexpected brush with death.
"The Lord's not done with me yet," he says. "I don't know what he has planned for me, but he must have something in mind or else I wouldn't be here."