BLYN WA Dec 31 2011 — The man had stopped breathing and was close to death as he lay on the floor of 7 Cedars Casino.
But casino employees, including former Jefferson County Undersheriff Ken Sukert, helped revive him after he suffered a heart attack at about 2 p.m. Wednesday, casino security manager Robin Allen and Sequim Fire District No. 3 personnel said Thursday.
The victim, a former 7 Cedars security employee, was listed in stable condition at Olympic Medical Center on Thursday morning.
“They started CPR [cardiopulmonary resuscitation] immediately and continued to do it, and that played a huge role in contributing to his good outcome,” Sequim Fire District No. 3 Medical Safety Officer Bryan Swanberg said Thursday.
Allen said he believes the man lives in the Sequim area and may be in his early 70s.
He was sitting at the bar in the Totem Lounge next to the security podium when he fell out of his chair and landed flat on his back, Allen said.
“I observed the entire event,” Allen said, adding that he watched Sukert, a member of the casino’s security staff, spring into action.
“He was with [him] within 15 seconds,” Allen said.
Sukert, who was unavailable for comment Thursday, checked the victim’s vital signs.
“There was no pulse, no breathing, and he [Sukert] began CPR,” Allen recalled.
Casino information technology department employee Bob Foster, an emergency medical technician, took over the procedure from Sukert, Allen said.
Clallam County Fire District No. 3 personnel, whose station is within a quarter-mile east of the casino, arrived within two minutes of being called and conducted CPR on the man for about 25 minutes.
“He was not breathing when we arrived,” Swanberg said.
District personnel administered jolts from an automated external defibrillator, or AED.
“After the third shock, he started to breathe on his own, and he got a pulse back at that point,” Swanberg said.
In the ambulance
While an ambulance transported the victim to the hospital, he started to “come around,” resisting the medical apparatus he was tethered to, District No. 3 spokesman Patrick Young said.
Brain death can start in three to five minutes of when a person stops breathing, Young said.
“We do CPR on a regular basis, and to have a survivable outcome because of the immediacy of CPR is the rarity,” he said, adding that too often, those who witness heart attacks are unwilling to start the emergency procedure.
During CPR, a trained provider compresses the chest to create artificial circulation and provides breaths for a person who is not breathing and whose heart has stopped.
“Immediate CPR supplements what’s left in the body and preserves the brain,” Young said.
Automated external defibrillators also are key to preventing heart attacks from being fatal, Swanberg said.
“We’re getting as many AEDs in the community as we can,” he said.
“Before we got there, they had an AED out and open and were trying to get it on.”
Allen, the brother of Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Chairman Ron Allen and casino Chief Operating Officer Jerry Allen, said employees undergo first-aid training twice a year. The last one was two months ago.
Swanberg said he received an update on the victim’s condition Thursday morning.
“He’s actually awake and talking to his family,” Swanberg said. “He doesn’t remember the incident.”