By Kelly Werthmann
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – A father of two who collapsed while camping in Lakewood is thankful to be alive today thanks to life-saving CPR from his wife and technology.
On May 12, Ted Amidon was at Bear Creek Lake Park with his wife, Kirstin, and sons when he suddenly fell.
“The last thing I remember was having a brat at the picnic table,” Ted told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann.
Without thinking twice, Kirstin rushed to her husband’s side.
“He was completely white and looked like he was having a seizure,” she said.
As another camper called 911, Kirstin began performing CPR.
“It had been years since I had any training, but in the moment your adrenaline kicks in,” she explained.
It would take West Metro Fire Rescue crews nearly 10 minutes for them to reach the area of the park where Ted was lying, lifeless. Yet within seconds, paramedics were putting LUCAS to work – a portable CPR device that performs consistent, high-quality compressions for as long as needed even while crews are moving a patient.
With its help, first responders got Ted’s pulse back on the ambulance before arriving to the hospital.
“I think this device can be credited with making a huge difference,” WMFR firefighter Brian Holcomb said.
WMFR equipped a handful of its ambulances with a LUCAS device in March, following weeks of training for the agency’s firefighters and paramedics.
CBS4 attended one of the training classes in February when crews practiced using the device on a dummy.
“We’ve got some of the strongest guys in the state doing compressions, but even those strong guys can’t be doing compressions forever,” Joe Zimmerman, a WMFR firefighter, said. “I think [LUCAS] will make us more effective and efficient.”
In Ted’s case, LUCAS helped firefighter paramedics continue the life-saving procedure his wife started.
“Not only doing CPR, but doing effective CPR,” WMFR firefighter Nick Bourne said of Kirstin. “Without that, 10 minutes is longer than anyone could survive without a heartbeat, and the outcome would’ve been very different.”
Ted doesn’t remember much from the day he nearly died, but he says he is incredibly grateful he’s alive, thanks to his wife, first responders and LUCAS.
“I’m just extremely fortunate,” Ted said.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.