Over the summer, three Albion College students were involved in lifesaving efforts using CPR. Two of those students, Amber Bemiller and Michael Albano, learned CPR in physical education professor Keith Havens's First Aid class, while student David DeVore earned his lifeguarding certification with Havens at Albion College.
Amber Bemiller and Dad rescue stricken driver
Bemiller was returning to Albion for the beginning of the academic year last month when she and her parents were suddenly confronted with an emergency near the campus. As she began to pass a car on Michigan Avenue, Bemiller and her parents heard a child screaming inside the car and saw the driver slumped onto the seat. Bemiller pulled in front of the other car, allowing it to hit her, and then she and her father began CPR on the driver.
"I had never done CPR on a real person nor seen it done, other than in class and on TV," Bemiller recalled. "Finding a nonresponsive person is one of the scariest things I have ever done. It wasn't like he was sleeping. He had his eyes open, looking straight ahead. He was very limp. Very scary."
Bemiller, her father and a bystander continued to do CPR until the ambulance arrived, at which point Bemiller turned her attention to the young passenger. “When the ambulance got there my next concern was keeping the little girl calm and finding out as much about the situation as I could," Bemiller reported. "After it was all over I just felt relieved, and all I wanted to do was move in to my apartment."
David DeVore & Michael Albano answer the call at summer jobs
"I was in the pump room, checking the chlorine feeder when I heard frantic cries for help," recalls David DeVore of an eventful day this summer at the Wabeek Country Club pool in West Bloomfield. A young child had sunk in the pool and by the time he was pulled out, "his skin was sickly pale and cold, and his lips were a very dark blue," said DeVore, who was the club's pool manager during the summer.
DeVore and the other lifeguard on duty found a faint pulse and began CPR. "I remember very vividly the sounds of water being forced up through his lungs with each compression--a squelching sound, kind of like the sound a boot makes when you step in mud, and the straining and creaking of his ribs every time I pressed down," recounts DeVore. Happily, he notes, the boy started breathing on his own after just three or four minutes.
"I had always feared that in an emergency I would freeze up and forget all of the useful information, but incredibly enough, the only thing I could remember in that moment was my training," DeVore concludes. He and the other lifeguard were recently honored for this rescue by the Oakland County Medical Control Authority and the Bloomfield Township Fire Department.Michael Albano, a reserve emergency care technician at Metro Health Hospital in Wyoming, Mich., was in the x-ray department when "a nurse told me to come into an x-ray room and start CPR," he recounts. X-ray had just put in a call for an emergency response team, and Albano just happened to be on the scene. "I put on my gloves and was very nervous," he said. "I put all my weight on those first few compressions, and I could feel some of the patient's ribs break. It was scary, but by that time, other ER technicians were there and were telling me that I was doing a good job."
Albano ended up doing three sets of compressions in between unsuccessful attempts by other technicians to defibrillate the patient. After the third defibrillation, the patient's heart began beating and he was quickly transferred to intensive care.
"It was so exciting and so nerve-wracking that I was dumbfounded for at least an hour," says Albano. "Everyone in the ER told me I did a great job, and then we went back to work."
"It's neat that Albion College students are saving people's lives," says Havens. Havens believes that the American Red Cross will likely honor both Bemiller and Albano for their use of CPR to save lives. "I'm proud of all these kids," Havens concluded. "I wasn't surprised to hear that any of them jumped in and did this."