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Chiropractor staff's quick thinking saves patients life

Doctor, employees' recent training gets put to the test
by: contributed photo, From left, Heather Wilde, office receptionist and pre-treatment, Ronald Megyesi, chiropractic physician, and Corinne Coles, bookkeeper, helped save a patient’s life at Powell Valley Chiropractic Clinic and will be honored at the Breakfast of Champions Tuesday, March 13.

The crew at Powell Valley Chiropractic Clinic in Gresham noticed that longtime client Bill Smith, 65, was 'unusually un-cheerful' during his routine appointment and were about to find out why.

During his adjustment, Smith went into a sudden cardiac arrest while on the adjustment table.

Luckily, the clinic employees had been trained just three days earlier on cardio pulmonary resuscitation and first aid through the American Red Cross. So when their patient got into trouble, Dr. Ronald Megyesi, Corinne Coles and Heather Wilde sprang into action.

For their lifesaving efforts, the trio is being honored as the American Red Cross' 2007 Healthcare Heroes.

They are three of 15 heroes (14 humans and one canine) selected from more than 30 nominations. The American Red Cross Oregon Trail Chapter will recognize their actions at the 2007 Fred Meyer Breakfast of Champions on Tuesday, March 13, at the Oregon Convention Center.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Breakfast of Champions honors a wide range of heroic and compassionate acts, serving as real life examples of the Red Cross mission. For example, this year's heroes range from a teenage boy who saved his 10-year-old sister from their burning house to a man who helped shelter victims of a flood in Tillamook County.

During their patient's medical emergency, the trio at Powell Valley Chiropractic Clinic took immediate action, calling 9-1-1 and administering CPR until paramedics arrived at the clinic, in the 4200 block of Southeast 182nd Avenue.

It took 13 shocks with a defibrillator to revive Smith.

All three rescuers stress the importance of their CPR and first-aid training and marvel at the timing of their recent training.

'Just that Saturday we went in for our CPR class, and we're glad we did,' said Coles, a Portland resident. 'That week we needed to use the skills. It was in our head, what to do.

'It was just like the Red Cross movie, and we had just taken the class,' said Wilde, also of Portland. 'We knew where we were supposed to be. We all knew our roles. We started rescue breathing and chest compressions.'

'Bill was pasty, unconscious, unresponsive … and then he had no heartbeat,' said Megyesi, a Happy Valley resident. While Wilde helped him assist the patient, Coles ran to the phone, dialed 9-1-1, met paramedics at the door and escorted them into the office. 'You feel a little helpless … but I knew from the class that it was important to do,' Coles said. 'That was my job; that was what I had to do.'

In those four minutes before the fire department got there, Megyesi started CPR. 'Heather (Wilde) reminded me about the updated new compression ratio. We didn't panic,' Megyesi said. 'We took Red Cross classes many times, so we were prepared to act, and we were calm and organized … under the circumstances!'

Smith doesn't remember what happened but knows he was in the right place with the right people at the right time.

'They are friends. I admire them,' said the 20-year patient from Portland. 'It's great they are recognized as heroes. I'm glad that the training to learn CPR is there. It saved my life. It did.'

If you go

What: Oregon Trail Chapter Fred Meyer Breakfast of Champions.

When: 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 13; doors open at 7 a.m.

Where: Oregon Convention Center, Oregon Ballroom, 777 N.E. Martin Luther King Blvd., Portland 97232.

Cost: Tickets cost $100 each ($80 is tax deductible) and are available at the door. Call for Sponsorship Opportunities: 503-528-5671. Or reserve your table online at www.redcross-pdx.org.

Details: Last year's breakfast raised more than $190,000 to fund relief from residential fires and other disasters; lifesaving training such as first aid and CPR; emergency preparedness; and transportation for seniors and the disabled throughout the seven-county area served by the Oregon Trail Chapter.