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August 2, 2013
Man thanks Colo. Fire-EMS crews for saving his life
The Greeley Tribune
MEAD, Colo. — Looking back on the June morning when his heart stopped while working on a barn in Mead, Myles Decker only remembers telling his co-worker he didn’t feel well before dropping to his knees.
He woke up a week later at Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, where his doctor told him his heart had stopped beating for 10 to 15 minutes before he was resuscitated.
Decker, of Berthoud, said he’s lucky to be alive and on the road to full recovery, and he credits his co-workers and the first responders with making sure he was able to spend more time with his children.
“I’m lucky to be here,” Decker said. “They said only 5 percent survive.”
Decker was working on a barn with Vance Bunker and Dave Spong on June 3. He said he remembers holding up some siding before saying he didn’t feel well and falling to his hands and knees. Spong and Bunker called 911 and both started CPR on Decker before first responders arrived.
“One of the things that really helped out with his survival is that there were bystanders that were doing really good CPR,” said Lt. Shane Doyan, who was in charge of the five-member Johnstown Fire Protection District crew that responded.
Doyan said Decker didn’t have a pulse when his crew took over. An ambulance crew arrived minutes later and began treating Decker with a defibrillator, rushing him to the hospital, where he stayed for nearly two weeks.
Decker reunited with the five fire crew members and three people on the ambulance crew last month, giving each of them a Life Saver Award. He said he was touched by how well he and his twin, 13-year-old sons were treated at the station.
“They were just happy to see me,” Decker said. “They were happy that I made it. They were just so loving and kind.”
Decker said Bunker and Spong told him how impressed they were at how well the crews worked together to get Decker through a field, across a ditch and into the ambulance.
“They’re a great team, and they deserve as much thanks as they can get,” Decker said.
Ron Bateman, fire chief for Johnstown and Milliken fire protection districts, said the teamwork the crews exhibited with Decker is a product of the fact that the ambulance crew, employed by University of Colorado Health, is housed in the station with firefighters.
“Everything comes together seamlessly when those firefighters and the crew from (University of Colorado Health) work together, train together and live together,” Bateman said.
Doyan said EMTs on his crew also receive extra training to do things like administer IVs, and that additional training helped save Decker’s life.
“We’re expected to do more with less staff,” Doyan said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to provide better service.”
Decker said his doctor told him he has a rare heart defect called long QT Syndrome, which essentially prevents his heart from beating regularly. He said doctors inserted a device that should keep his heart beating normally, and he’s getting used to his medications.
“I’m through the roughest part, now just taking it easy and trying to get back to normal,” Decker said.
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