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507 ARW Reservist saves friend's life

  • Published
  • 507th Air Refueling Wing
Major Todd Haifley, a pilot with the 507th Air Refueling Wing's 1st Aviations Standards Flight, has developed a new found respect for the automated external defibrillator or AED after using one to save a friend's life.

An AED is a small, user friendly electronic device which is able to diagnose potential heart attacks and treat a patient through defibrillation (electrical therapy) which stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.

Major Haifley experience began on a Sunday evening, February 28. "I coach and play on a men's hockey league in Kalamazoo, Michigan," he said. "While we were getting dressed for our game one of my players collapsed right next to me in the locker room." The major said it initially appeared the player was having a seizure but it very rapidly deteriorated into something much worse.

"He stopped breathing and I could not feel a pulse," Major Haifley said. "I had already told somebody to call 911 and to go find an AED. Shortly after I performed the first round of CPR the AED arrived and the guy handed it to me and asked if I knew how to use it."

Fortunately, Major Haifley had received the training provided at his civilian job. "I took it seriously but never thought that I would have to use it "for real". It worked as advertised in this situation to a "T"," he said.

Haifley said he applied the pads just as the diagram showed and followed the instructions. "I administered the first shock after the AED advised and continued CPR. After a couple more rounds of CPR the AED once again analyzed and advised another shock which I gave. He then regained a rhythmic heart beat and regained consciousness," he said.

Later, Major Haifley said he went to visit the player in the hospital. "He had no history of heart condition, and was in OK shape for a 52-year-old," he said. "The cardiologist did a heart cath and said that he had two complete blockages. The doctor added that he had never seen blockages in this area and to have the patient live after the attack. The doctor put in two stints and expected a full recovery. He said all the stars were lined up for him that day and that the swift action and the use of the AED without a doubt saved his life. He called this kind of heart attack the "sudden death syndrome" type that he has until now has never seen anybody live through."

The major stressed the importance of AED and encouraged others to take advantages of AED and CPR training opportunities. "These devices are extremely important. I can't thank these individual enough for the very informative training I received on this equipment and for my CPR certification," he said.

(Article is reorganized from a personal letter submitted to the 507th public affairs office by Maj. Haifley)