High-Performance CPR saves Richmond teen’s life

Published: Aug. 9, 2020 at 9:43 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Vt. (WCAX) - Richmond, Vermont, is a heart safe community. They were selected to be back in 2014, and now, they’ve also been selected to pilot test new technology called High-Performance CPR.

For one family in the town, that technology was a lifesaver.

Quinn Wardwell loves sports.

“He’s played sports since he could walk, he was on the varsity basketball team at Mount Mansfield this year, he plays baseball,” said his mom, Amy Wardwell.

So a pickup basketball game in the driveway with his dad and brother isn’t anything out of the ordinary.

But on April 28, it was.

“It was just one of those times where I saw him grab the ball and just fall backward and the way he fell I kind of just knew it wasn’t right,” said his dad, Duncan Wardwell, who was playing with him.

“I don’t really remember too much of it, just I remember waking up in the hospital wondering what happened,” Quinn explained.

“It was surreal, it was frightening, and it was surreal. My mind immediately went to the worst case scenario,” Amy said.

Doctors still aren’t sure why, but during that game, Quinn’s heart started beating so fast the blood could not properly flow through.

It’s called tachycardia. It’s not something that the Wardwells ever had considered, but they knew something was seriously wrong and called 911.

When Richmond Rescue responded, they had a different approach than other rescues may use-- High-Performance CPR. It’s a pilot program, and fortunately, Richmond is a testing site.

”We can get feedback real time on our compressions so there’s a part of the pad that goes underneath your hand so while you’re compressing the monitor can tell you to press faster, press deeper,” said Sarah Lamb of Richmond Rescue.

Sarah was on the call the day Quinn needed help.

She says High-Performance CPR is all about making sure the quality of your CPR is effective.

Sarah tells me that High-Performance CPR is not just about the technology but it’s also about educating people like the public and bystanders as well as other first responders so they can start CPR in these cases.

“Historically, and around the country, the survival rate for out of hospital cardiac arrest is 10% or less. That more than triples when you have bystanders starting CPR,” she says.

Fortunately, Duncan did perform CPR on Quinn while they waited for the ambulance… which may have saved his life.

“I went through some basic CPR and stuff and I just did the best I can but then I was just waiting for the 911 call to get through because I knew I had kind of done the best that I could and I was panicking,” Duncan says.

Thanks to Duncan’s fast acting and the High-Performance CPR, Quinn is back to playing basketball in his driveway.

“[We are] so lucky that we ended up here. Even if it had been a regular spring and he had been at school who knows what it would have been had people had to come to Jericho to get him. I just feel like we are so fortunate to live in Richmond,” said Amy.

And hoping to get back on the court for his senior year.

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