MECHANICSVILLE, Md. – On Feb. 19, there was a celebration to honor the heroic acts of the SOMD community and first responders who saved the life of a man on the Three Notch Trail. Bystanders and medics who worked together to perform CPR and give the victim, Christopher Holton, a second chance at life were awarded at the Mechanicsville Volunteer Rescue Squad’s Annual Installation of Officers Banquet.
On the afternoon of Aug. 21, 2021, Holton was found unconscious and without a pulse along the trail. Before medics arrived on the scene, civilian bystanders, Dr. Bryan Grenville Buckley, and one more person began performing CPR on the man. Maire Kurtz, Chief of MVRS at the time of the incident, says, “We (Crew Chief Dana Montfort and driver Matt Wagaman) arrived on scene to find a bystander doing chest compressions— compressions so good we thought he was a first responder. At the patient’s side, I confirmed CPR in progress. I took over compressions while Matt gathered needed items and quickly applied the AED.”
When the firefighters Jake Senatore and Craig Polk from MVFD, Company 2 arrived, they quickly moved the man to the ambulance as a crowd was beginning to form. Kurtz was proud of her team’s quick reactions saying that while “Inside the ambulance, everyone had a job and wordlessly went about doing whatever was necessary. It seemed everyone could see what the others were thinking and were always one step ahead.”
They achieved a short-lived Return of Spontaneous Circulation (ROSC) but lost it quickly. They would go on to administer another shock along with more CPR. Once the crew arrived at Southern Maryland Hospital, everyone worked with the staff to identify Chris, who they were referring to as “John Doe,” in hopes of making contact with his family.
As he was stabilized, the crew also wanted to find the bystanders who started the rescue.
“Everyone agreed that we just did what we are trained to do and that we really needed to find the bystanders who started CPR,” Kurtz added. “The true heroes that day were the bystanders who took CPR instructions from a dispatcher and saved a life. Had they not started CPR when they did, it is unlikely we would have the same outcome.”
When asked what the banquet meant to him, Holton said, “It was just very emotional, to see everyone.”
“During the incident itself, I was sedated so I couldn’t interact with the doctors/rescuers. At the banquet, I was able to finally thank them,” he said. “To be able to recover and thank them- it was just so emotional.”
Holton was in the hospital from Aug. 21st-Sept. 28th. Throughout recovery, he was able to piece together the story of who played a role in saving him. Being able to meet everyone was “therapeutic” for him, and he says it is like he has “a very large extended family now.” He says Dana Montfort has been so helpful in the past couple months.
Without the heroic and swift actions from brave bystanders and responders like the MVRS team, everyday accidents could have dire outcomes.
Holton is doing great and feels back to normal, and is still adjusting but is thankful he can work again.
Learning CPR could make the world of a difference to another on any unexpected day. We thank these heroes and other responders who save lives every day.
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