Man Who Is 26th AED Save Thanks Airport Employees
The importance of AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) was once again highlighted during a media event at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Monday, April 12. Dr. John Leslie, a Professor of Anesthesia at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, came to PHX Sky Harbor to thank and show his appreciation to TSA Officers and the firefighters from Phoenix Fire Station 19 for his own save.
Dr. Leslie was traveling through Terminal 4 at PHX Sky Harbor on March 14. He became ill, and as he started to experience cardiac distress, contacted two TSA Officers, Richard Williams and Michael LoCascio (pictured above and above right), to help him. As Dr. Leslie lay on the floor outside of the A Checkpoint, he requested an AED and told the TSA Officers how to apply it. Dr. Leslie was administered a shock by the AED machine after it analyzed his heart rhythm. Upon receiving the shock, Dr. Leslie commented to Williams and LoCascio that they had saved his life. Dr. Leslie was then transported to the hospital by the Phoenix Fire Department.
“Thanks to the great work of the people here, I am standing here today,” Dr. Leslie said as he again thanked Williams and LoCascio as well as the entire Phoenix Fire Department. “I can’t echo how important it is to have these devices and people trained on them.”
Having the devices and the staff to know how to use them in situations such as these, was a theme that resonated throughout the event. Dr. Leslie said that this is part of a great public message that having AEDs available can help save lives. Dr. John Gallagher of the Phoenix Fire Department agreed and said as part of the AED program since December 2000, 30 patients have had an AED used on them at PHX Sky Harbor. Of these individuals, 26 of them have been saved.
“In Dr. Leslie’s case, this is the first one we have had where someone has been conscious and has directed others to put an AED on themselves,” said Dr. Gallagher. “He thanked them immediately after for saving his life. It is a remarkable event and we have had a great success rate with these devices and training here.”
There are now 86 AEDs available at PHX Sky Harbor, Phoenix Deer Valley and Phoenix Goodyear Airports, located in various public spaces and employee work areas. Phoenix Police Airport Bureau and the Fire Department bicycle teams also carry AEDs with them. Over 2,000 Airport employees and volunteer Navigators have been trained to use AEDs as well as administer CPR should the need arise.