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Maitland News
MFRD Saves a Patient's Life in Winter Park


Pictured from left to right:  WPFD Fire Chief James White, WPFD Engineer Eric Wheaton, WPFD FF/EMT Ross Cravey, WPFD Lt. Rich Taylor, Steven Kwong, Medical Director Dr. Todd Husty, MFRD FF/PM Matt Gillespie, MFRD FF/PM Matt Godson, WPFD Engineer Chris Gattis, and our very own Fire Chief Kim Neisler. 

Firefighter/Paramedic Matthew Gillespie joined the Maitland Fire Rescue Department three years ago.  As part of the training program, newer paramedics are required to research a topic and give a presentation to MFRD staff and Dr. Todd Husty, the department’s medical director.  This meeting takes place once a month.

MFRD has a special relationship with Dr. Husty that is 29 years in the making. The staff meets monthly with Dr. Husty to review MFRD’s significant medical calls and discuss new and innovative protocols. MFRD’s relationship with Dr. Husty allows them to use his protocols over Orange County’s protocols.  Thanks to Dr. Husty’s review of presentations, “we can change our practice parameters at a drop of a hat,” said Fire Chief Kim Neisler.   

Speaking of special relationships, the City has a reciprocal aid agreement with the City of Winter Park.  The agreement allows the MFRD and WPFD to assist each other in their respective municipalities when their counterpart is engaged with another simultaneous call.  This important piece of the story will come in later.

On Monday, December 19, 2016, it was Mr. Gillespie’s turn take the podium to present his research topic in front of his colleagues.  The topic?  Double sequential defibrillation. 

Double sequential defibrillation is the use of two defibrillators at the same time when no other rescue protocol is working on the patient.  Defibrillation is the action of restoring the heart to the normal rhythm with electric shock.  

Immediately following Mr. Gillespie’s presentation, Dr. Husty approved the change in MFRD’s practice parameters to include double sequential defibrillation.  Other fire rescue departments have to wait months or sometimes years to incorporate new protocols into their procedures and protocols.

On March 18, 2017, the MFRD’s Rescue 45 responded to a call on Park Avenue at a cross-fit gym.  The Winter Park Fire Department was engaged in another call.  The patient, gym owner Steve Kwong, was in full cardiac arrest.  Mr. Gillespie was a member of the response team that was deployed to help Mr. Kwong that day.

Mr. Gillespie applied the protocols in MFRD’s practice parameters but Mr. Kwong was not responding.  “[Mr.] Gillespie took the initiative to try this new procedure, [double sequential defibrillation].  And it worked,” said Chief Neisler.

On May 8, 2017, there was a presentation at the City Council meeting.  Chief Neisler presented Certficates of Accommodation to Winter Park’s Truck 61, Winter Park’s EMS 61, and Maitland’s Rescue 45.  Mr. Kwong presented a photo collage to the first responders who responded to the call in March to express his appreciation.

Mr. Kwong’s case is the first successful documented recovery due to the use of double sequential defibrillation in the United States.

Dr. Husty plans to write a paper about the rescue event and present it to his peers.

Maitland News Archive

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