This reporter has written a two-part article for this paper, chronicling the development of one of Goodland’s gems – the Drop Anchor Mobile Home Park. Part two appears in today’s edition in Goodland Life. This story relates to what those folks did on Sunday, January 24, 2016. It may change forever how we think of and care for the many retirees in our Southwest Florida communities.
This story begins back on February 19, 2013, when Dr. Greg Bello, a retired maxillofacial surgeon, was elected president of the Goodland Civic Association (GCA). Bello well knew the dangers of heart ailments, having had to retire because of one. In the spring of 2014, Bello began to agitate for the installation of defibrillators in the village of Goodland. As his lieutenant, he appointed Theresa Morgan, a GCA board member and practicing CPA. It was a fortunate choice.
In April 2014, Bello asked Collier County to send a representative to speak at a GCA town meeting. The County sent out Naomi Fraguela, a 27-year paramedic and County Emergency Services coordinator for automatic external defibrillators (AED). Morgan was impressed with Fraguela’s presentation. “We learned that an AED is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm. It can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restart or restore a normal rhythm to a heart that has gone into sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). This condition usually causes death if not treated within minutes,” Morgan told me, “According to the National Institutes of Health, each minute of SCA leads to a 10 percent reduction in survival, so using an AED on a person who is having cardiac arrest can save the person’s life while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.” Working with Morgan, in October 2014, Fraguela succeeded in the placement of not one, but two AED devices in Goodland – both in county parks.
In January and June 2015, Fraguela came out to Goodland and trained volunteers in the necessity and use of the AED machines. At GCA meetings, Bello and Morgan had stressed that anyone could set up and use these machines. “The machine will actually talk to you and tell you what to do,” Bello told us. Bello also caused an aerial map to be made for use of responders. Each residence was labeled with a numbered address. Bello also urged the residents of homes with emergencies to light the house or stand out front and wave the responders in.“Goodland can be a hard place to locate someone,” Bello said, “Many of the residences do not have numbered addresses displayed.” In January and June 2015, Fraguela came out to train volunteers in the use of the AEDs. About 60 people showed up for the two classes. Twenty-eight of them signed up to be placed on the call list. Kay Tabor was one of those taking this training. “I heard about this from another resident. I meant to go in January but couldn’t make it,” Tabor said, “I resolved to attend the June class. [Drop Anchor Mobile Home Park] is restricted to 55 and older residents. The average age here is about 65. We have lost a number of residents over the years and I thought that this would be valuable knowledge to have.”
On January 24, 2016, at about 9:30 AM, a warm and beautiful Sunday morning, Tabor heard a pounding at her door. She ran to the door to find her neighbor, JoAnn Methner, urging Tabor to “Come quick. Mark had a heart attack.” Methner is a long time resident of Drop Anchor. She seems to know everyone. Methner and her husband Don had been sitting at their kitchen table, when they heard screaming outside. They found another neighbor, Mark Drumheller, flat on his back in front of his residence. His sister, Donna, who was visiting from Ohio, announced that he wasn’t breathing. “I remembered that Kay Tabor had recently taken a class in how to use the [AED’s]” said Methner, “I ran over to get her.” When Tabor got there she took Drumheller’s pulse, and then put her ear to his chest. She could detect no pulse and could not hear any heart sounds or breathing sounds. Drumheller was starting to turn blue. So far, Tabor had been following the protocol taught to her by Naomi Fraguela. Next on that protocol was to immediately begin heart compressions. I asked Tabor what was going through her mind at that moment. Without hesitation she replied that, “I was just going to do what I had been trained to do. Otherwise he could die” She fell to her knees and started chest compressions. When Tabor tired, she was relieved by others.
According to Don Methner, his wife JoAnn started issuing orders. She asked Donna Drumheller to call 911. She dispatched three of the onlookers to get out on Papaya Street and direct the responders to Drumheller’s residence. Finally she toldDon to get over and pick up a defibrillator ASAP. Don found Dennis Finney nearby. Finney knew where the machine was and they set out in Methner’s golf cart to fetch it. On their way back to Drop Anchor, they transferred the defibrillator to a pickup truck being driven by Greg Bello. Bello and the AED arrived at Drumheller’s place a few seconds later. The EMS crew from Marco Island arrived four to five minutes after that.
Donna Drumheller was keeping track of the timing of the responses. She estimates that it took only four minutes from the time of the 911 call (to Collier County) to when the AED was hooked up to Mark Drumheller. In that time, Fraguela, later told me, the county had left messages for all 28 residents who were on the call list. After the 911 call, “I kept my eyes glued on my watch,” Donna said, “the defibrillator arrived four minutes after the call. The AED was operating for five minutes and 53 seconds.” It was turned off when the EMS crew arrived. That meant that about only 10 minutes had elapsed from the time of Donna Drumheller’s 911 call to the County, to the arrival of the Marco EMS crew.
When Greg Bello arrived with the AED, the first thing he noticed was six or seven people out on Papaya Stret, all directing him to Drumheller’s place. Bello’s address map of Goodland could not be large enough to show the numbers and letters on Drop Anchor’s many mobile homes. I have been there often and in many respects, it reminds me of a rabbit warren. I have spent minutes trying to find a residence there. Mark Drumheller lives at # 60; across the street, the Methners live at #F. Bello’s constant urging for people to get out front and wave the responders in was paying off here.
Bello got the text message from the County at about 9:35 AM. It reported a cardiac arrest and gave Mark Drumheller’s address. “When I arrived, Mark Drumheller was on the ground – lifeless,” said Dr. Bello, who is entitled to a D.M.D. after his name, having served a five-year residency in Newark area hospitals, including general surgery, anesthesia, and two months in intensive care and ER. “Kay Tabor was doing chest compressions. She was exhausted.” Bello checked Drumheller’s airways and administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (more of Fraguela’s protocol). Bello and Tabor then attached and turned on the AED.After reading the heartbeat (or lack thereof), the AED said to cease the chest compressions. The resulting shock lifted Drumheller of the ground. “Fifty-three seconds had elapsed from the time I opened up the machine to the shock,” said Bello, who in proper medical fashion, had timed the procedure. The AED called for a resumption of chest compressions, which were discontinued upon Bello’s detecting significant signs of life. The Marco EMS crew arrived shortly thereafter.
Tabor recalls that when the defibrillator was hooked up to Mark Drumheller, it ran an EKG and then told those in attendance to stand back, while a shock was administered. “Mark jumped when the shock hit,” said Tabor, “About 10 to 15 seconds later, he tried to roll over and get up.” In the AED class Tabor recalls hearing that a shock after cardiac arrest works only 40 to 46 percent of the time. “I was afraid that this wouldn’t work,” said Tabor, “But just like that, the patient was struggling to get up and to roll on his side. He was starting to talk, complaining that it hurt to breathe. I was on his legs and could hardly hold him down.” The chest pain was determined to have been caused by the chest compressions, which may have damaged the cartilage connecting the sternum to the ribs. Fraguela told me that this is a common result of the protocol. “It shows that the chest compressions were done with sufficient force to get the desired result.”
JoAnn Methner was there from start to finish. As the EMS crew was putting Drumheller on a stretcher and administering oxygen, one of them said he was very impressed at what had just transpired. “This was the way it was supposed to work – a community pulling together,” he said. “Because this was said, by people who did this for a living, I felt that Mark would be OK,” said Methner.
Mark Drumheller was released from NCH Naples Hospital on Friday, January 29. I caught up to him at the GCA Pancake Breakfast the next day. Mark, 64, a robust, handsome man was accompanied by his sister Donna and brother Jim, who had come down from Ohio to be with him. He had just had a hearty breakfast of pancakes and sausage and looked as if he had never been sick a day in his life. “I feel fine,” Mark told me, “I had two stints put into an artery andnow have to take my meds and watch what I eat.” Donna said that Mark had walked two and a half miles the day before the heart stoppage, with no shortness of breath. “Before the attack, I felt like I had indigestion, gas build up,” Mark said, “I did have some pressure in my chest and kept burping. When I went to sit down in a chair, I fell and didn’t remember anything else until the EMS crew came. Mark had a twinkle in his eye and was obviously happy and grateful for the outcome.
Naomi Fraguela was also at the pancake breakfast. She has since been promoted to deputy director, Collier County Emergency Services. She brought along her replacement as AED coordinator, Captain Tom Ouilette. “This happened on Captain Ouilette’s watch,” she noted. Fraguela was a popular person in Goodland even before Mark Drumheller’s revivication. Her dedication and commitment to obtaining the AED units for us, and then seeing to it that we had a certifiably trained cadre to operate them, was not lost on any of us. To me, she personifies Collier County’s compact with its residents and with Goodland in particular. Fraguela deflected praise from herself. “I came over to thank the people of Goodland for what they have accomplished here,” said Fraguela, “This was a team effort, it could not have happened without the concerted efforts of the County staff, the Goodland Civic Association, and the people of Goodland who were willing to step up for the good of the community. When 28 people from the two Goodland AED classes signed up as volunteers, I was heartened and encouraged. I have frequently held up Goodland as an example when addressing other communities and groups. Now this.” Fraguela went on to say that although the county is aware of a number of AED rescues, “This is the first time the circle has ever been completed.” The first time an actual cardiac arrest was ever properly reported in a timely manner, resulting in a prompt response by trained volunteers, and concluding with resuscitation of the patient by effective use of an automatic external defibrillator. “From start to finish, this is how we envisioned this to happen,” said Fraguela. We can only speculate as to how many more times, Fraguela and Ouilette will hold up Goodland as an example.
It is great to live in Goodland.
If you want to take a FREE life-saving CPR/ AED course call the Marco Island Fire Rescue Department at 239-389-5050.