North Carolina Firefighter Saved by EMT Brothers
Jan. 08--ELI WHITNEY -- A firefighter with the Eli Whitney Fire Department is expected to make a full recovery after suffering a heart attack while on a call last week.
As it turns out, Capt. Tim Skinner was in the right place at the right time. He suffered his heart attack while surrounded by fellow firefighters. All were trained in CPR and the equipment needed to shock Skinner's heart back to life was at the ready.
"I feel sure if it weren't for these guys, I wouldn't be talking to you today," Skinner said Monday afternoon.
The incident took place about 5:30 p.m. last Tuesday as Skinner and other rescue personnel were responding to a call about a traffic accident near the intersection of East Greensboro/Chapel Hill and Raymond roads. Skinner, 50, said he'd been deer hunting earlier in the day.
He may not have been feeling his best, he said, but he didn't feel bad. Skinner figured that tightness in his chest was indigestion.
When Skinner was standing in the road, he began feeling a little light-headed. Floyd McBane, a safety officer with the fire department, heard Skinner call his name, but figured he was just being warned about oncoming traffic.
The next thing anyone knew, Skinner had collapsed on the road, his head thumping off the pavement as he fell.
"Man, I don't remember nothing," he said. "It was, 'bam!' I was out."
Skinner was experiencing full cardiac arrest.
"I flat-lined," he said, choking up as he told the tale. "I was dead."
Skinner's heart was shocked back to life once at the scene and three more times after he was transported to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. Skinner said he owes his life to several people involved in his rescue -- but especially to brothers Chris and William Mauney who he was told were administering CPR within 30 seconds of his collapse.
Skinner couldn't have chosen a better pair to have a heart attack near. Both the Mauneys are volunteers with the Eli Whitney Fire Department. In addition, they're both EMT's -- William employed by the Alamance County EMS and Chris on the staff of Life Flight out of Chapel Hill.
"If it weren't for them, I'd be dead," Skinner said.
In a few minutes, the Mauneys had Skinner stabilized to the point he was ready to be transferred to the hospital. Doctors later determined the source of his problem was blocked arteries. A pair of stents were inserted. Skinner was released from the hospital on Friday though he had to return Monday to have his medication regulated.
Members of the Eli Whitney Fire Department hold training on Tuesday nights and Skinner plans to attend this week, though he said, "I've got to take it easy for awhile."
Skinner and his wife, Sherri, have a son, Steven, 29, who is also an EMT. Skinner's full-time job is owner of Skinner Masonry.
"Everything happened for the best," said Kenny Saul, chief of the Eli Whitney Fire Department. "In a lot of ways, he's very lucky."
He said had Skinner suffered his heart attack at home or almost anywhere else, "He'd almost surely be dead."
Saul managed a chuckle as he recalled the story. He wasn't at the scene where Skinner collapsed, but noted he received numerous calls from Eli Whitney firefighters, all excited about what happened.
"I told them, 'You know what to do, you're trained, he's alive,' " Saul said.
Skinner said doctors have put him on a diet. In the past week he's dropped from 255 pounds to 235 pounds. He said he's on seven medications -- for his heart, for high cholesterol and for high blood pressure.
"They all jumped," Skinner said of his fellow firefighters responding when the emergency arose. "Thank God they were there."
Copyright 2013 - Times-News, Burlington, N.C.