“I’m The Guy Who Died At Chick-fil-A” – Escambia EMS Recognizes Cardiac Arrest Survivors

May 24, 2018

“I’m the guy who died at Chick-fil-A.”

That’s how Jack Casey introduced himself to Escambia County EMTs and paramedics who may remember him as the man who was clinically dead for about half an hour one spring morning in 2015.

Casey (pictured above) suffered sudden cardiac arrest while working at the Chick-fil-A on Navy Boulevard on May 11, 2015, and he said he owes his life to bystanders and first responders who immediately started CPR and didn’t stop until his heart was pumping again.

“CPR saves lives,” Casey said. And he would know.

Casey was one of seven sudden cardiac arrest survivors recognized by Escambia County Emergency Medical Services staff at a ceremony Tuesday, May 22 at Escambia County Public Safety, where they had an opportunity to meet the people who brought them back to life.

Some survivors shed tears as they tried to put their gratitude into words. Casey was able to make it to his son’s high school graduation right after the EMS ceremony.

Related story: Lifesaving PulsePoint App Now Available In Escambia County

The ceremony was conducted in conjunction with National EMS Week May 20-28, which honors emergency medical service professionals for their dedication to public service while raising awareness about the many EMS services, resources and programs available to Escambia County citizens. This year’s theme is EMS Strong: Stronger Together.

Escambia County Chief of EMS Steve White emphasized the importance of hands-only CPR for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, which only have about a 10 percent survival rate, according to the American Heart Association. Early application of bystander CPR and rapid defibrillation from an AED have proven to be crucial in improving a person’s chance of survival.

“If somebody, anybody, will perform CPR before EMS arrives, the survival rate triples,” White said.

Early application of CPR was critical for survivor Patricia Jablonski, who suffered sudden cardiac arrest in Walmart last March. Her husband, Jesse, a retired firefighter, immediately began CPR until first responders arrived.

“And we know that directly contributes to being able to walk out of the hospital and have another birthday, another Christmas, another child graduate high school,” White said while recognizing Jesse Jablonski for his quick action.

Patricia Jablonski (pictured left) expressed her gratitude to her husband, EMS personnel and everyone who helped save her life that day.

“I’m appreciative that I get to see all five of my grandchildren grow up…,” she said. “I really, really appreciate it, and I will love you and think of you ’til the day I die.”

Survivor Greg Yost (pictured below) echoed the importance of knowing CPR, which saved his life on April 14, 2017 while driving near his neighborhood. His wife flagged down a vehicle, and a 15-year-old stopped and performed hands-only CPR until EMS arrived. The 15-year-old only knew CPR from watching the TV show “Scrubs,” and he did chest compressions to the beat of the song “Stayin’ Alive,” which is commonly used to teach hands-only CPR.

Yost said the doctors told him he had less than a 1 percent chance of surviving to the hospital.

“I owe my life to them…,” Yost said of the bystander and first responders. “Truly, everything that happened for me aligned in a way that allowed me to live. So I am deeply, deeply thankful.”

Escambia County is offering several opportunities for the public to learn hands-only CPR during EMS Week:

  • Free hands-only CPR courses: This week through Friday, May 25 from 4:30-5:30 p.m., Escambia County Public Safety, 6575 N. “W” St.
  • Free hands-only CPR training event: Saturday, May 26 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m, Cordova Mall, 5100 N. Ninth Ave.

Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.


5 Responses to ““I’m The Guy Who Died At Chick-fil-A” – Escambia EMS Recognizes Cardiac Arrest Survivors”

  1. Shay on May 27th, 2018 3:13 am

    Most cardiac arrests don’t turn out this well. Occasionally we do get a patient back but more than not we don’t because it isnt a witnessed arrest and to much time has passed before the patient is found. This gentleman was lucky he was in public and that somebody knew to call 911. Everybody should know CPR because we aren’t always on scene right away and a person who knows CPR is our first defense to what could be a deadly situation if nothing is done right away.

  2. AA on May 25th, 2018 1:31 pm

    Thank you north Escambia for covering the community so well. These are amazing people who work behind the scenes and deserve a little recognition.,

  3. Wharf Rat on May 24th, 2018 10:51 pm

    Many years ago, Dale Evans, Roy’s “cowgirl” wife, wrote a book entitled “Angels among us,” or something similar to that subject. For the people who do not realize it, there is a cadre of people who make a living saving strangers who have had a severe and sudden problem. Thank heaven for these “angels.” And the book may not have anything to do with this subject. Just a spontaneous thought, but I have seen these “angels” in action, up close and personal. Lord love them.

  4. Gramms on May 24th, 2018 8:31 pm

    Why don’t they teach CPR in middle school?

  5. William2 on May 24th, 2018 9:57 am

    It’s never to late to learn.

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