Man Has Heart Attack While Lauding Paramedics

May 01, 1991|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff writer

A group of county paramedics came to the rescue yesterday of an Ellicott City man who suffered a heart attack while attending an awards ceremony for the very paramedics who saved his life two months ago.

Milton F. Quasney, 63, who went into cardiac arrest March 6 and had been brought back to life by four paramedics, had another near-fatal attack at 8:50 a.m. yesterday while attending a "Gift of Life" presentation at the county office building.

But once again, paramedic John D. Jerome -- one of about 15 paramedics on hand for the awards ceremony -- helped save his life and bring him back to consciousness. A rescue report said Quasney had been clinically dead for nearly seven minutes.

"I was having feelings ofdeja vu," said Jerome, 24, who brought Quasney back to life last March. "I have real strong feelings for the guy. He's been through quitean ordeal."

Of the 10 cardiac-arrest rescues that Jerome has handled, two saved the victim -- and in both cases it was Quasney.

A spokesman for Johns Hopkins Hospital said Quasney was listed in critical but stable condition last night.

Quasney, his wife, Jackie, andhis brother, Melvin P. Quasney, had arrived early for yesterday's ceremony and were "looking forward to thanking the fellas that saved Milt's life back in March," said Melvin Quasney.

The Gift of Life ceremony, sponsored by the county department of fire and rescue services, was to recognize 24 county firefighters and paramedics who saved or assisted in saving someone's life in the first four months of 1990.

Jerome and three other rescue workers were to receive awards for reviving Milton Quasney at his home in early March, when he suffered a heart attack in his living room.

"He couldn't wait to go see those guys again," said Melvin Quasney, who lives in Brooklyn Park. "He'd been talking all the time about how he had died and how they had brought him back to life. Now they've done it again."

Battalion Chief Donald R. Howell, who organized the awards ceremony, said he had introduced himself to Milton Quasney and the two had just shaken hands when Quasney's automatic defibrillator sent out a warning signal.

Quasney passed out and stopped breathing moments later, Howell said.

"Fortunately, we had more than a dozen people there -- almost too many -- who rushed over to help," Howell said. "Needless to say, it put an unexpected damper on the enthusiasm of the ceremony."

Jeromehad just arrived for the awards program when a fellow medical technician ran up to him and said, "You know that guy that you saved two months ago? Well, he just went into cardiac arrest again," Jerome said.

After several minutes of advanced life-saving techniques, Quasneybegan breathing again and was responsive to questions, Jerome said.

"He was telling me about his grandchildren while we were riding inthe ambulance," Jerome said. "I told him, 'Milton, you're doing muchbetter this time than the last time.' "

Quasney, of the 8400 block of Church Lane, was recuperating yesterday at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where physicians had stabilized his heart rate, said his wife, Jackie Quasney.

Throughout the ordeal, her husband has gained an appreciation for rescue workers, "although he's getting sick of going back to the hospitals," Jackie Quasney said. "But he's got nothing but praise for the people who keep saving his life."

Milton Quasney, who is being treated in the intensive care unit of the hospital, could not be reached for comment, but Jerome said Quasney appeared to be ingood spirits when he left him.

"As I was leaving, he lifted his head up and said, 'Thanks, buddy,' " Jerome said.

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