Tag Archives: AED


I goofed!

This just in from Mark and MaryGrace Gudis:

Please do not worry; the “missing” AED has not been used or stolen. It has yet to be installed, as we are awaiting activation of the security features.

This particular AED is one of the 100 that the Gudis Family and Norwalk Hospital donated to the towns of Westport, Weston, Wilton, New Canaan and Norwalk as part of their recent AED and CPR awareness initiative implemented after the incident last October. Iff you look closely, the picture has the Norwalk Hospital-WCHN logo on the case and a number to call if there is an issue. A vast majority of the others around Westport have been installed, including 3 at Compo Beach. So do not fear: The AED will be installed within the next few days, and will be available to save lives. (It is also bilingual.)

The AEDs purchased from the fundraising efforts of the Greenlee Foundation are in the schools and on the Board of Education fields.

The others donated by our 5-Town  initiative are in locations around town, where the selectman’s office, Westport EMS and Parks and Recreation felt would provide excellent benefits.

We are looking to expand this initiative around the state, given the response we have had by all of the towns and our local politicians. In addition, we continue to work with the Board of Ed in each of the 5 towns to implement mandatory CPR certification and training to high school students as part of the PE and health curriculum, at no charge to the school budget.

All of this is very exciting for us. We appreciate being able to give back, and hopefully save lives.


When a Staples High School senior suffered cardiac arrest on the soccer field last fall — and was saved by the quick use of a portable defibrillator — alarms were raised.

And they were not just the beeping of the device — also known as an AED.

The Adam Greenlee Foundation — named for a Bedford Middle School student who was also saved by an AED — swung into action. They raised over $85,000, purchased 75 AEDs, and gave them to schools and organizations around town.

You now see them nearly everywhere, from Wakeman Field to Compo Beach.

Many others — donated by the Gudis Family Foundation and Norwalk Hospital (see above in red) — are placed around town, from Wakeman Field to Compo Beach.

Another place was is Winslow Park.

Earlier today, alert “06880” reader/Staples soccer player/dog walker Daniel Brill noticed that the dog park AED is missing from its case.

AED at Winslow Park

One of 2 things happened.

The AED might have had to be used. While unfortunate, that’s what it’s there for. However, we probably would have heard about it.

Or someone stole it.

If that’s the case, just put it back — no questions asked.

And if you really want one of your own, just ask. I’m sure the Greenlee Foundation — and many others in town — would be happy to help.

Nancy Capelle’s Harrowing, Heartfelt Story

Growing up in Greenwich, Nancy Capelle was surrounded by “unspoken expectations about life and careers.” Her father said, “If you can’t put it on your resume, it’s not worth doing.”

After boarding school and Boston University, she climbed the corporate ladder. Nancy rose from paralegal in a Stamford medical malpractice law firm, to compliance roles in larger companies, then associate director at Boehringer Ingelheim.

She’d reached her goal: earn 6 figures before she was 40, and have an expense account. “I thought that meant I was doing something meaningful,” she says.

Nancy Capelle

Nancy Capelle

One Saturday in May 3 years ago, Nancy ran a 5K. It was the first one honoring Sally Kaelin, to benefit Whittingham Cancer Center. Nancy had known Sally, so the event was special.

Back home in Wilton, she felt chest pains. Because she is tall, thin, fit and a non-smoker — and had no family history of heart trouble — Nancy was unconcerned.

But the pain radiated to her sides, back and neck. Then came intense jaw pain.

She googled her symptoms. “I wasted 45 minutes wondering if I had a pulled muscle,” she remembers.

When her husband returned from errands, they called 911.

A paramedic instantly realized she was having a heart attack. Nancy was hustled into an ambulance.

One street from her home, she felt her heart go crazy. “Stay with me!” an EMT shouted.

She couldn’t. She was in cardiac arrest.

The driver pulled over. He and other EMTs sprang into action. They started CPR, and secured defibrillator pads.

Thankfully — because she’s young — Nancy came out of it without being shocked.

heart arrhythmiaBut once again, her heart went into arrhythmia. To correct it, the medics shocked her — while she was conscious. Nancy compares the experience to “being thrown off a 10-story building, and landing on concrete. Or being kicked in front and back simultaneously by a horse.”

It was the right call. Her chest pain subsided. There were no broken ribs.

She’d suffered a spontaneous coronary artery dissection. That tearing of the artery wall is rare — and very dangerous. It disproportionately strikes young women . Most die.

Nancy lived.

After a long leave of absence, she went back to work. She lasted 2 days.

“I couldn’t do it — physically or emotionally,” she says. “I couldn’t sit in meetings, and pretend they matter.” During her months away, only one thing had changed: “Me.”

EMTShe thought about what she really wanted to do. Then it came to her: Become an EMT. “The paramedic was there for me,” she says. “Well, I wanted to be in that seat for someone else.”

Norwalk Community College was a new experience for Nancy. She met a broad range of people she’d never had contact with. “It was fantastic,” she says. “I saw what real life is.”

Nancy passed some very tough tests. In April of 2013 — 11 months after she almost died — she was certified as an EMT. She joined the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps — the same group that saved her life.

In the months since, she has become a CPR instructor for the American Heart Association; created a business — Cardiac Companion — to provide services for cardiac survivors after their rehabilitation ends; earned certification as an EKG technician and will soon be certified as an EMS instructor, and is about to begin work as a Milford Hospital emergency room technician.

So what does all this mean to you?

This Sunday (May 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Westport Family YMCA), the Westport Weston Wilton Medical Reserve Corps is sponsoring “Hands For Life.” The goal is to train 2,000 community members in hands-only CPR, and the use of AEDs (automatic external defibrillators).

Training takes just 15 minutes. People of all ages are welcome.

Sponsors and participants prepare for Sunday's "Hands of Life" CPR and AED training at the Westport Family YMCA.

Sponsors and participants prepare for Sunday’s “Hands of Life” CPR and AED training at the Westport Family YMCA.

“We have to be there for each other,” Nancy says. “We all have to know how to react in an emergency.”

She knows better than anyone the importance of CPR and AEDs. She is proud to pass along what she knows. And she is happy that she is still around to put all her cardiac-related activities on her resume.

(For more information, click here; call 203-216-1509, or email nancy@cardiaccompanion.com)

Life At The Y

Last Friday was a typical summer day at the Y.  Swimmers swam; cyclists cycled; basketball players basketballed.

Suddenly, around noon, a player in one of those pickup hoops games dropped to the floor.

He was in full cardiac arrest.

A fellow player — the guest of a member, who is a nurse — began chest compressions.  Others ran for help.

Michael Friedman

Michael Friedman — a health and wellness specialist in the fitness center — was standing in the doorway.  Like every Y staffer — from the CEO on down — he’s been trained and regularly re-certified in both CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator) use.

Michael grabbed the nearest AED unit — there are 3; this one was by the membership desk — and ran to the gym.

Ignoring a large head gash — sustained when the man collapsed — Michael checked for vital signs.  All were negative.  There was no pulse.

He attached the AED.  It recommended a shock.  He followed the prompts, and administered one.  Immediately, cardiac rhythm was restored.

“That’s a blessing,” Michael says.  “The best blood pump in the world is your own heart.  He wasn’t without a pulse for very long.”

Michael secured the man’s airway.  Then he and membership coordinator Steve Forlano attended to his  head wound.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Y staff followed the exact protocol they train for.  The membership desk called 911.  Someone waited outside to escort emergency personnel through the maze of hallways to the gym.

When firefighters, police and EMTs arrived, they took over.  Soon, the man was on his way to Norwalk Hospital.

The next day, his fianceé called the Y to thank everyone.  He could have died, she said.  Instead he had an angioplasty (and 17 stitches in his head), and will be fine.

He’ll be released from the hospital tomorrow.

Michael has a special background.  He spent 20 years with Weston’s fire department and EMTs.  But, he insists, “anyone in the building would have done what I did.

“It was a real team effort.  There were so many people involved.  I still don’t know all their names.

“There was an awesome continuum of care,” he adds. “From the minute he hit the floor to the end result, he had excellent care.

AEDs -- with clear instructions on how to use them -- save lives.

“AEDs were in place.  We were trained to use them.  Westport EMTs are some of the best in the country, so the pre-hospital help was fantastic.  And then Norwalk Hospital followed up with more great care.”

Michael concludes:  “I feel proud of the Y, and the team effort that took place.  I’m just glad I could take the training we’re all given, and apply it when it was needed.”

Michael had the weekend off.  He returns to the Y this week.

Soon, he’ll move to part-time status.  He’s headed to Norwalk Community College, taking courses in physical therapy.

He could probably skip the first-aid portion of the curriculum.

Then again, Michael Friedman never would.