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Medics Honored for Saving Tom Ridge in 2017

Austin’s medical director Mark Escott has heaped praise on the paramedics and firefighters who saved the life of former Pennsylvania Governor and United States Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge after he suffered a heart attack on a visit to the city just over a year ago.
Dr. Escott, Medical Director of the City of Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical System (ATCEMS), paid tribute to the City’s first responders today, January 10, 2019 at the annual meeting of the National Association of EMS Physicians, at Austin’s JW Marriott hotel.
He said the success of the urgent treatment provided by emergency medical and fire personnel at the same hotel in November 2017 had been made possible by the “well-coordinated systems of care between the EMS System and our hospital partners”.
He added: “Congratulations to our heroic first responders and our hospital partners who created remarkable luck for Secretary Ridge on November 16, 2017. You are all a credit to our system and our profession and the City of Austin is blessed to have you protecting our community.”
Secretary Ridge had suffered a heart attack and cardiac arrest in his hotel room. First responders from ATCEMS and the Austin Fire Department responded within three minutes and successfully resuscitated Secretary Ridge whose heart stopped three times. Secretary Ridge made a full recovery following hospitalization in Austin.
The crewmembers who responded to the emergency call were today recognized and thanked by Secretary Ridge in person, after he returned to Austin to give the event’s keynote speech.
They were ATCEMS Communications Clinical Specialist Dena Morgan, ATCEMS field personnel Clinical Specialists Brendan Cluskey and Kyle Schutt, Cpt. Marco Villasenor, and Austin Fire Department’s Cpt. David Heaton, and Firefighters Christopher Coggins and Anthony Segovia.
Speaking after the event, Dr. Escott said: “Successful resuscitation from sudden cardiac arrest is highly dependent upon a well-organized system of care with multiple critical links in the chain of survival. Governor Ridge’s case exemplifies the kind of outcome that is possible in the City of Austin when all of those links are maintained.”
In 2018, Austin-Travis County EMS received 122,900 calls and dealt with 800 resuscitations from cardiac arrest.

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