'Seconds Really Count' as Man Saved Inside Ristuccia
An off duty member of the Concord Police Department joined Wilmington police and firefighters in saving a man's life at Bruins practice on Thursday.
Terry Gardner was at Ristuccia Arena with a few of his friends to watch the Boston Bruins take the ice for practice. But he was hard at work before long.
Gardner was among the group of on and off duty emergency personnel who saved the life of a man who had a cardiac episode in the stands on Thursday morning.
Bruins players, who had just taken the ice in Wilmington, took a knee along the boards in front of the benches and watched as several professionally trained first responders rushed into the stands and used a defibrillator to shock the man back to consciousness.
Gardner said he works for the Concord Police Department and Littleton Fire Department, though he was off duty when he came to Ristuccia to take in the practice session.
He was sitting in the stands when he heard someone frantically yelling to call 911. Gardner rushed up the stairs about 40 feet behind him and found a man struggling to breath. He began to perform CPR and within seconds was joined by Bruins trainers and Wilmington Police officers who were in the building at the time of the emergency.
Wilmington officer Matt Stavro was watching the practice on his day off while officer Dan Deon was working police duty at Ristuccia. Both came charging to the stands and were joined by Bruins trainers. Someone, Gardner isn't sure exactly who, grabbed the defibrillator that hangs on the wall outside the Bruins locker room and brought it into the stands.
“The quicker you can do CPR the better. Seconds really count in that situation,” said Gardner. “Really, for the situation that he had, he had it in a pretty good place. They had the defibrillator on scene, which made a world of difference for him. If this happened at home, he may not have had such a good outcome.”
Gardner said that while it initially appeared the man was having a seizure, it was quickly evident that it was instead a cardiac event. The defibrillator only administered one shock, and then the man’s heart rhythm began returning to a more normal rate.
Wilmington firefighters quickly arrived to Ristuccia as well, and the man was breathing by the time they got to him in the stands. They continued to administer aid before loading him onto a backboard and bringing him to a waiting ambulance.
“You feel pretty helpless (watching the emergency play out),” said Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference. “I’m just glad that of all the places for that to happen it was here. There’s medical staff, the defibrillator was right there, and the response was about as quick as you could ask for. Thank goodness.”
Gardner said it was surreal for him to have the Bruins watching him rather than the other way around.
“Having the spotlight on you is a little strange. We don’t normally work with this kind of crowd when we do this,” said Gardner. “It was a little weird having the Bruins watching you instead of you watching the Bruins.”