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City worker, paramedics save runner's life at Naples Half Marathon finish line

NAPLES - In an instant, just yards from the finish line of the Naples Half Marathon, a 60-year-old Naples man collapsed.


It wasn’t exhaustion or a bum knee or dehydration, he’d had a cardiac event. It could have killed him; actually, it did kill him, temporarily, Naples Fire Chief Steve McInerny said, before his firefighter/ paramedic and firefighter/ EMTs stepped in.


“Just north of City Hall he’s lying there face down with no pulse, no respiration ... after we shocked him and treated him, by the time he’s at the ER he’s alert and conscious and breathing. This patient had been clinically dead,” McInerny said. “That’s a phenomenal save, one of many that our personnel have performed over the last couple of months.”


The patient’s name has not been released by hospital officials. He is in recovery and will have serious facial injuries from collapsing onto the pavement after his heart stopped working.


“But he is alive,” McInerny said.


There were two teams of two firefighter/ paramedic and EMTs patrolling the annual Naples Half Marathon. Then a call came out that a man had collapsed near the 8th Avenue finish line, possibly in cardiac arrest.


Bystanders, including city staff member Bradie Allen, started CPR, McInerny said.


Then his crew took over and created an airway while a fire crew stationed at nearby City Hall came over with one of the city’s four ALS defibrillators. This is not the portable kind you may have at your office or your gym, McInerny said.


“These heart monitors are about $25,000 each — and worth every nickel,” McInerny said. “I don’t think there’s any greater honor than saving the life of another, and our people do that almost every week.”


He said 62 percent of the calls the fire department get are medical, and that’s why it’s imperative they have the best trained paramedics and EMTs.


“The real difference between life and death is often made at the scene,” he said. “This is really a tribute to bystander CPR, which is very, very important and having the paramedics with the highest level of skill available, working with the best possible equipment.”

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