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April 1, 2009 > Good Samaritans beat odds to save life

Good Samaritans beat odds to save life

By Simon Wong

When Union City resident Manual Rodriguez suffered a heart attack in February, he had a 10 percent chance of survival. Lucky for him, he was surrounded by people who knew what to do.

Rose Mallari, a fellow hoofer at the Ruggeri Senior Center dance class, confirmed the absence of a pulse and began to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation. She was assisted by Julie Jeung, who was also trained in the emergency procedure.

At the same time, Senior Center employee Richard Camarillo immediately called 911, maintained calm and order, and provided assistance.

Within minutes, the Fire Department's 3771 team arrived and took over. Captain Anthony Hansen, Engineer Craig Fuji, Firefighter/Paramedic John McInnis and Battalion Chief Mike Brown worked as a team to save Rodriguez. Firefighters undergo specialized medical training and continuing life-saving education.

Josh Kennedy and Adam King of American Medical Response responded and added their skills, knowledge and training. The combination of basic and advanced skills saved Rodriguez' life.

At its last meeting, the City Council recognized everyone who assisted in the emergency.

"When the heart stops beating and there is neither a pulse nor breathing, there are only a few minutes to act," explained Fire Chief Carlos Rodriguez (no relation). "Only 10 percent of cardiac-arrest victims are revived.

"The following made this happen for Mr. Rodriguez. First, citizens who knew what to do. Second, a Ruggieri Center employee who called 911 promptly to start the chain of assistance is a member of our team. It is important to react quickly while CPR is performed. Third, our brave firefighters who try to save lives daily. Fourth, the AMR team continued the fire department's efforts by working together.

"All those pieces of the puzzle made the difference to this gentleman's survival, so that he could continue to enjoy life with his wife and family," he concluded.

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