MONTICELLO -— A routine trip to ShopRite in Monticello on July 25 turned serious very quickly for two members of the Rock Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps (RHVAC).
Earlier that day, RHVAC and the Mamakating First Aid Squad hosted a training event called “pit crew approach to cardiac arrest management” for all Sullivan County EMS providers.
RHVAC Lieutenant Jessica Epifania and ambulance driver Liz Koenig had just wrapped up the cardiac management drill when they went to ShopRite in the Thompson Square Mall around 9 p.m. to buy cases of bottled water that were on sale.
Epifania said they were loading the cases into their shopping cart when a store employee approached and told them a man had collapsed near the meat section of the store.
Once they reached the individual, Epifania recognized the situation as an overdose and told Koenig to retrieve the Narcan from her vehicle.
“She ran back to the car to get the Narcan while I started compressions because at that point he had no pulse. He was blue,” Epifania said.
Koenig administered Narcan while Epifania continued CPR and asked the store manager to retrieve an AED.
“We had no supplies besides our hands and the knowledge from the training drill that we just had,” Epifania said.
Epifania and Koenig revived the man’s pulse twice without having to use the AED before the fire department and other EMS arrived and could provide him with oxygen.
The man eventually sat up and thanked the two for reviving him. After speaking with police, the man declined to go to the hospital and walked out of the store.
“It’s not everyday that you bring somebody back twice and then they just get up and walk away,” Epifania said. “Training saves lives and I’m grateful to be able to work alongside Liz.”
After that, Epifania and Koenig left with their 12 cases of bottled water, donated free of charge.
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