Spokane Valley paramedics perform CPR for 73 minutes, help save teen's life

Chase Burright was playing Ultimate Frisbee at Valley Mission Park on June 5 when his life took a turn for the worst.

The 15-year-old had a sudden cardiac arrest, and found himself fighting for his life.

“When you’re watching your child get chest compressions there’s several outcomes,” said Chase’s dad, Russ. “Which is going to be the outcome you get here today?”

The scenarios that played through Russ’ head would last for more than an hour.

Shortly after paramedics arrived, they began giving CPR.

“We started CPR right there in the ambulance,” said Spokane Valley paramedic Jeff Fraser. “This was one of those scenarios we just didn’t want to quit.”

They didn’t.

Fraser and fellow paramedic David Sanchez continued CPR at the hospital emergency room. They didn’t stop for 73 minutes.

“They were just relentless in doing what they were doing,” said Chase. “They didn’t want to give up on me even though they didn’t know me at all.”

After 7,300 chest compressions, Chase’s heart started beating again.

“We can’t say it was luck or good fortune,” said Chase’s mother, Beth. “We know that this was a miracle from the lord, and he used many people to bring it about.”

Paramedics Sanchez and Fraser say the efforts to save Chase’s life took an entire team. Doctors, hospital workers, and AMR crews all worked together to execute a new way to perform CPR called “Pit Crew CPR.”

“You could imagine even among trained professionals that when someone goes into cardiac arrest it's an excellent opportunity for confusion or chaos,” said Medical Program Director for Spokane County EMS, Jim Nania. “It’s the concept of assigning roles and responsibilities. It’s the concept of having someone organizing and keeping track of the time, calling on indications for medications, and changing resuscitators.”

The “Pit Crew CPR” concept was adopted in Spokane County in 2012.

It appears to be working.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department achieved a record-setting 66.7 percent cardiac survival rate in 2015, which is among the highest rates in Washington State.

According to the SVFD, one person dies each day from cardiac arrest in Spokane County.

The SVFD says CPR could have prevented 50 percent of those deaths.

Nania says this is why it’s so important that people learn CPR. He encourages the public to take the free CPR classes offered at Spokane County fire departments.

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