Firefighter Stephanie Andrews was a last-minute addition to a soccer game in Anne Arundel County last April – the coed team needed another women in order not to forfeit, she explained at Thursday night’s Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services Awards Ceremony.
Andrews was checking in guests to the ceremony, but she was also one of the most–talked about awardees that night because of what she did at the Soccer Dome.
She saved a life.
It was just about 10 – 15 minutes into the game, she said, when one of the players, 53-year-old Mike Greenhill, said he wasn’t feeling well. He sat on the bench and Andrews noticed him: “His head was slumped down, touching his chest,” she recalled, and he looked like he was about to fall off of the bench.
So Andrews and the referee rushed to him. “He had a weak pulse,” she said. “He was breathing, but I knew something was wrong.” After he began foaming at the mouth she checked his pulse a second time. “Nothing.”
That’s when her training kicked in, but not without a little hesitation. “It’s different with a crew and equipment around. It’s different when it’s just you.” Her hesitation, however, was fleeting, and she did what she needed to, starting CPR and directing someone to call 911 and someone to look for an automated external defibrillator.
“It felt like a very long time,” she said, but it was probably more like 5 – 10 minutes before the Anne Arundel County Fire Department showed up.
Greenhill had experienced a sudden cardiac arrest, but unlike nine out of ten people whose hearts malfunction in this way, according to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, Greenhill lived.
He made a full recovery and was able to shake Andrews’ hand and thank her in person as she was given the Gift of Life Award at Thursday night’s ceremony.
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