Emgergency workers revive man at the Assembly Hall

Emgergency workers revive man at the Assembly Hall

CHAMPAIGN – Talk about comebacks.

Emergency medical workers revived a man whose heart apparently had stopped before the University of Illinois basketball game Thursday night.

Clifford Burdette, 68, was listed in serious condition Friday at Provena Covenant Medical Center in Urbana.

"He was in full arrest when we got the call," said Kevin Ullestad, director of the Assembly Hall.

The emergency workers were called to the northwest outer concourse about 7:40 p.m. Thursday. A team of nurses and paramedics is on duty for every event at the Assembly Hall, Ullestad said.

"Last night was an excellent example of a major medical activity and saving a life," he said. "The EMS performed incredibly well."

According to Lynn Clutts, director of Emergency Medical Services at the UI Assembly Hall, three emergency medical technicians and two ambulance paramedics rushed to aid Burdette and used a heart monitor to check his heart, which had stopped. They electrically shocked his heart back into rhythm, she said.

"In such cases, you need electricity to go through the heart to reorganize the rhythm and get an actual contraction," Clutts said. "The only treatment is to shock them."

The Assembly Hall EMS crews have automated external defibrillators, as well as more sophisticated monitors, she said. Both do the same thing, except that the standard heart monitor will give a reading which a trained person can read and an automated external defibrillator will not allow a shock to be transmitted unless the rhythm falls into the criteria in a computer program in the device.

"An AED would have done exactly the same thing we did," Clutts said.

There are two AED units at the Assembly Hall. In addition to the emergency medical services crew, 12 supervisors at the facility also have been trained to use the machines, according to Ullestad.

An automated external defibrillator is a small, lightweight device with a built-in computer to check a person's heart rhythm. Programs in the device read the heart rhythm through leads applied to the person, and the device instructs the operator to "shock" or "no shock" the person.

Other facilities in the area that have AEDs include the UI Memorial Stadium, the Urbana, Champaign and Rantoul police departments and Kraft Inc.

According to Gretchen Robbins, spokeswoman at Carle Foundation Hospital, there have been 132 AEDs registered with Carle Emergency Medical Services, including 75 in Champaign County.

Kim Garrison, a spokeswoman at Provena Covenant, said more than 80 AEDs in six area counties are registered at that hospital.

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