CSA honors TAMC lifesavers

| October 8, 2010 | 0 Comments

Jan Clark
Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs

Retired Sgt. 1st Class Roy Ridgeway (center) and Spc. Matthew Belot (right), receive awards from Gen. George Casey Jr., Army chief of staff, for saving a coworker’s life, at a ceremony at TAMC, Sept. 30. (Chris Chang | TAMC)HONOLULU — Everyone could feel the pride sizzle in the air as Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey Jr. alighted from his vehicle at Tripler Army Medical Center, Sept. 30, and proceeded to present an Army Achievement Medal, or AAM, and a Meritorious Civilian Service Award, to two men whose quick actions, back in January, saved a life.

Casey’s visit, here, was part of a whirlwind trip to numerous commands on island. 

During his visit, he honored Spc. Matthew Belot and retired Sgt. 1st Class Roy Ridgeway, both TAMC staff members, for their actions, Jan. 21, which saved the life of Joel Jenkins, TAMC protocol officer, when he collapsed outside TAMC’s oceanside entrance.

Belot was awarded the AAM and Ridgeway received the Meritorious Civilian Service Award.

Jenkins was standing in front of the hospital visiting with a long-time friend, and Ridgeway was close by texting on his phone. When Jenkins crouched down, Ridgeway thought he was just stretching his leg, as Jenkins had completed a 20-mile run the weekend before.  

Then, Jenkins fell back. He was unconscious and having difficulty breathing.

Ridgeway leapt into action, trying to get him to respond.

“I called for help and asked for a code to be called to the front of the hospital,” Ridgeway said. “I rolled (Jenkins) into the recovery position and monitored him. His breathing stopped, and I called for an automated external defibrillator and rolled him onto his back.”

Capt. Andrew Schlussel, general surgery resident, arrived on scene and began chest compressions, as Ridgeway performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Belot, a health care specialist, heard that a code-blue was in effect just as he was preparing to go home.

“This was the first time I responded to a code, and it happened so fast,” Belot said. “I rushed outside and then immediately back (inside) to get the AED. I exposed the chest and applied the pads as (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) was being performed.”

This lifesaving experience didn’t just affect Jenkins’ life, but also the lives of the two men who stepped forward to save his life.

“This was my first experience with a patient in distress,” Belot said. “I realized that day how important my job as a medic is. The following day, I went to TAMC’s Directorate of Health Education and Training and requested more advanced training, which I now have.” 

For Ridgeway it was a reminder.  

“I am truly fortunate to serve with the great ohana here at Tripler,” he said. “I want to thank everyone for being so responsive, absolutely dedicated to their jobs and taking such good care of (Jenkins).” 

Jenkins is a distance runner who maintains an extremely high level of fitness, and he recovered quickly because of his healthy lifestyle. Four months after his ordeal, he was able to complete a 50K that supported the Wounded Warrior Project. 

“This is a real testament of the importance of learning basic life support and (CPR),” Jenkins said. “The fact that a private (Belot) had the presence of mind to grab the AED and knew exactly how to implement it was key to my survival – that and, of course, having (Ridgeway) right there. I am extremely grateful he was there when the event occurred.

“And I’m extremely grateful that Gen. Casey would honor these two men during his visit,” he added. “It makes it all the better.”

 

CPR classes are available at the following locations:

 

  • Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, 499-0166
  • Schofield Barracks, 655-4927
  • Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, 257-8848

 

 

Category: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *