It was just before kickoff at the New England Patriots/Miami Dolphins game at Gillette Stadium when a fan went into cardiac arrest and fell to the ground. Thanks to the quick actions of Johnston, RI Local 1950 member Anthony Colella and Needham, MA Local 1706 member Mark McCollough, the man’s life was saved.
“We were just waiting for the game to start when I saw two police officers running. My eyes followed the direction they were headed, and that’s when I saw the man on the ground,” said Colella. “I wasn’t far away, so I went over there to see how I could help.”
McCollough, who was also seated nearby, saw the same thing.
“Anthony and I had never met, but we knew what we needed to do to work together and assist this man,” he said. “We checked for vitals first. He wasn’t breathing, and he had no pulse.”
At first, the fire fighters thought the man might be choking, but they quickly realized he was in cardiac arrest. Another Johnston Local 1950 member, Chris Delfino, was also there, so he went to find an AED (automated external defibrillator) while Colella and McCollough started treatment.
“We opened his shirt and started chest compressions,” said Colella. “Then he started breathing again. And we double-checked to make sure his airway was not obstructed.”
McCullough, who has been on the job for 22 years, said this extraordinary situation was a first for him.
“I have provided medical care while off-duty before, but nothing like this,” he said. “I am glad we were there and were able to get him conscious and breathing before the paramedics arrived for transport.”
Colella said the man’s son reached out to him the next day to let him know his father had been released from the hospital and was doing better.