BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — A few minutes can be the difference between life and death, and two Maumee first responders have now been honored for providing critical action in those few minutes.
In November 2021, Maumee Fire & EMS Capt. and paramedic Dan Williams and Maumee firefighter/paramedic Ron Wedge were returning to the station when they decided to stop for a few minutes to watch some friends play soccer.
In the final minute of the game, goalie Chinedu Oguguo took a ball hard to the chest, knocked it to the ground and played it away, but when the final horn blew seconds later, Oguguo was on the ground.
“We looked back and he was sitting on the ground, collapsed back and was shaking. We both knew something wasn’t right,” Williams said. “At first, we thought he was having a seizure or was diabetic or something like that. Ron went out to the field and I went and got our equipment and came back.”
Oguguo had no pulse. The paramedics quickly assessed their patient and knew he needed to be treated for cardiac arrest.
The two paramedics defibrillated Oguguo twice and administered one dose of epinephrine.
“It was just the right timing of us giving him the Epi and the two shocks, and with us doing chest compressions, we got him back in six or seven minutes from the time he went down,” Williams said.
From there, they transported their patient to the hospital, a trip Oguguo does not remember. He recovered from the incident and was able to meet with the first responders later to thank them.
It’s not something first responders get to experience often. Rarely do they know the final outcome of a patient and get to see them for themselves after they have been taken to the hospital.
“You don’t get to follow up. You don’t know what happens,” Wedge said. “I would say 99 percent of our patients, we just don’t know what happens after.”
It was rewarding, Wedge said, to have that moment with Oguguo and know their efforts made a difference.
“The chances of being thanked, it doesn’t happen very much, so when it does happen it just means even more,” Williams said. “This means even more.”
The paramedics have had the chance to be thanked and recognized for their efforts and to meet with Oguguo multiple times since the incident in 2021.
The city of Maumee issued a proclamation during its November 21 city council meeting to recognize their efforts.
Maumee Fire & EMS Deputy Chief Jim Dusseau had also nominated Wilson and Wedge for an EMS Star of Life Award, which they received on November 7 in Columbus.
“It was great and we really enjoyed having our families with us. It was neat they could be there,” Wedge said. “Our patient was there, too.”
The paramedics were honored along with six other EMS Star of Life recipients.
“We feel lucky because they said they get stacks and stacks of nominations and for us to make one of the top that they actually give an award to is humbling and eye-opening,” Williams said.
Hearing everyone’s stories during the ceremony also reminded them of an often-repeated motto: Adapt and overcome.
“Sometimes you’re put in situations to where it’s not in the textbook. It’s not anything you learned in the book or through real-life experiences. You learn right in that moment. You have to do something, so you figure out how to do it because you don’t have another choice,” Wedge said.
The November 2021 incident was fairly standard practice for them. They knew the exact process and it was nothing they hadn’t done before, so it took them a bit to realize just how important the moment was.
“The biggest thing that I took away, and I didn’t realize this, but the facility had no AEDs, so even if there was somebody there that knew what to do, they wouldn’t have been able to shock them back to a normal rhythm or anything like that, and this prompted the owner to order a couple of AEDs,” Wedge said.
It’s important for everyone to be prepared in an emergency situation, the paramedics said.
There are classes on first aid, CPR and AED use through several organizations, including the Red Cross and American Heart Association. While Oguguo had Williams and Wedge on scene immediately, that’s not typically the case, so it’s important that everyone be prepared, pay attention to their surroundings and know how to provide basic first aid.
“If we weren’t there and somebody else on one of the teams had CPR training and said, ‘I know how to do CPR, I can do chest compressions,’ at least starting that, that could save somebody’s life, simply just doing chest compressions,” Wedge said. “The earlier, the better. It makes a difference.”
In just a few minutes, a life can be saved, so it’s important everyone is prepared for that time.