Story and photo provided by Heartland Fire
November 19, 2010 (La Mesa)--On October 2, 2010 at 5:15 p.m., Richard Morse, 59, of La Mesa collapsed outside the beer garden at the annual La Mesa Oktoberfest. An off-duty Pasadena firefighter and a Scripps Hospital nurse witnessed Morse collapse and determined that he went into cardiac arrest and began CPR. Two La Mesa Firefighters, Captain Todd Feneis and Captain Steve Pullen were working EMS Bike Patrol and responded to the incident.
Captain Feneis and Captain Pullen happened to be nearby and were able to get to Morse in less than a minute after he collapsed. The Fire Department employs bikes during the Oktoberfest for shorter responses to emergencies due to access issues created by the event.
EMS Bike Patrol carries basic life support equipment such as an automatic external defibrillator (AED), oxygen, airway management devices and assorted first aid equipment. Captain Feneis and Captain Pullen quickly administered the AED and defibrillated the patient’s heart. All four members worked together to continue CPR and airway management and defibrillated the patient two additional times. An advanced life support (ALS) ambulance arrived on scene, continued treatment, and transported the patient to Grossmont Hospital.
By the time the ambulance arrived at the hospital, Morse had a pulse, was breathing on his own, and was even able to speak to the hospital staff. He was released two days later after two surgeries.
“I’m lucky, very lucky to have a second chance,” Morse stated. He and his wife Marilyn returned to the fire station where Captain Feneis and Captain Pullen work. Morse and his wife, who was there at the time of the incident, were very thankful to the firefighters and paramedics who saved his life.
There is no doubt that early CPR and early defibrillation contributed to saving Morse's life. “It’s not often we see the end result on the calls that we run, especially one with such a positive ending,” stated Captain Pullen. “Everything lined up in his favor and it just wasn’t his time.”