GROTON -- At a meeting of the Board of Selectmen held Dec. 11, two members of the town's EMT service were given commendations for their actions in helping to save the life of a Lawrence Academy student.
According to a statement by Fire Chief Joseph Bosselait, EMT members Capt. Susan Daly and Lt. Tyler Shute arrived at the Lawrence Academy playing fields to find fellow EMT Frank Mastrangelo, who was also head athletic trainer at the school, already performing CPR on the fallen student.
Mastrangelo had been joined by other members of his LA team before the Fire Department members arrived but had had no success at reviving the male teenager, a student from Hong Kong who had apparently suffered cardiac arrest.
Taking over from Mastrangelo on the CPR, Daly and Shute were quickly rewarded with a pulse from the student, who was then transported to Nashoba Hospital.
According to school officials, the student has since made a complete recovery.
"The quick action of immediate and effective CPR in a very stressful situation saved this teenager's life and I am happy to report that he has fully recovered and has been released from the hospital with no apparent side effects from his medical call," said Bosselait in a prepared statement. "I am very proud of the response, treatment and professionalism displayed by all the Fire Department personnel who responded. There has been an outpouring of thanks from the boy's family and positive feedback from the Lawrence Academy community."
"This was an example of what can happen when you have good procedures and preparedness in place," said grateful LA headmaster Dan Scheibe following the selectmen's meeting. "Our own community (at LA) feels so relieved and happy. Our gratitude continues to pour out. Our well being depends on our place in Groton."
CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is an emergency procedure for manually preserving brain function until further measures to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person who has suffered cardiac arrest can be effected.
In conjunction with chest compressions needed to keep blood moving through the heart, rescuers can also provide artificial respiration by either exhaling into the subject's mouth or nose or using a device that pushes air into the subject's lungs.
The main purpose of CPR is to restore partial flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and heart with the object of delaying tissue death until full resuscitation efforts can be applied without permanent brain damage .
Bosselait met with selectmen on the morning of Dec. 11, when commendations were awarded to Daly and Shute.
Mastrangelo could not be present at the early 8:30 a.m. meeting.
Other members of the town's EMT team who had participated in the quick response included Tim Cunningham, Cathy Lincoln, Andrew Mahoney, Jim Mazzola, and Paul McBrearty, as well as medics Jeremy Januskiewicz and David Greenwood of the Ayer Fire Department.
"I am extremely proud of the way the members of this department have handled themselves both during and in the aftermath of this crisis, and it has reflected extremely well on both the department and the town as a whole," stated Bosselait.
"We're extremely lucky to have such well trained individuals," said Joshua Degen, echoing the sentiments of his colleagues on the board.
Bosselait said his department was "very proud" of its personnel who responded quickly enough that the stricken teenager suffered no irreversible brain damage as a result of the heart stoppage.