Quick action saves a life

A bystander's quick action and knowledge of CPR saved the life of 72-year-old William Johnson, who collapsed while playing basketball Thursday, March 24.

It all came together, Johnson said. "I was in the right place, with the right people with the right equipment and with close proximity to EMS."

Johnson was stricken during a Senior Men's Basketball League game at Roessleville Elementary School, and fellow participants quickly noticed that it was no regular sports injury " the color of Johnson's face turned gray-blue " and began administering CPR.

Dan Quinn, the instructor for the Adult Basketball Program at Roessleville, ran into the hall toward the custodians' break room because he knew they had access to a defibrillator and had knowledge of how to use it.

After hearing shouts from people to call 911, custodian Doug Hutton was informed by Quinn that there was a man down in the gym. Staff at South Colonie Central School District are required to go through CPR training every two years, and Hutton is up to renew his certification next week.

"He didn't look good. He was blue and he looked terrible," Hutton said. "I opened the machine saying, 'God, don't screw this up.'"

As the men applying the CPR moved back, Hutton passed Quinn the pads to place on Johnson, and then began following the step-by-step instructions the voice from the AED machine gave. Hutton instructed everyone to stand back as he went to push the shock button. Once it went off, Hutton said he saw Johnson's body jump. And soon after that, Johnson took his first breath.

"The EMTs came through the door shortly after," he said. "The whole thing was kind of blurry."

The EMTs asked Hutton if he had used the defibrillator. When he said yes, they told him he saved Johnson's life.

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