VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Glyndon Murphy, a Navy safety officer, performed life saving measures for a fellow government employee who suffered what appeared to be a heart attack on the morning of April 9.
Murphy – who is also an environmental officer for NSWCDD Dam Neck Activity and one of the first responders on the scene – immediately administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and an automated external defibrillator (AED) to the Training Support Center (TSC) Hampton Roads employee, whose name has not been released.
“She continued her efforts until base first responders arrived,” said Cmdr. Andrew Hoffman, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) Dam Neck Activity commanding officer.
AED is an electronic device that diagnoses the heart rhythm and tells the responder if a shock is advised. The devices deliver an electric shock to a person’s heart that can potentially stop an irregular heart beat (arrhythmia) and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest, according to the American Heart Association.
The incident occurred in a passageway shared by the Training Support Center and NSWCDD Dam Neck Activity.
As the NSWCDD Dam Neck Activity coordinator for CPR and AED training, Murphy – a retired Marine – encourages Navy Sailors, government civilians, and defense contractors to take advantage of basic lifesaving courses such as CPR.
Effective CPR and early defibrillation is the key to the survival of heart attack victims. The faster someone receives treatment, the less severe and the better chances of survival that person has. Every minute counts in these situations.
According to the American Heart Association, more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the U.S. each year. Approximately 90 percent of those people don’t survive. But the more people who are capable of performing CPR, the more lives that can be saved. CPR rendered in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.
On their website (http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/workplace/easy-as-aed), the American Red Cross states that "sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Over 350,000 people will have suffered from sudden cardiac arrest this year. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere and at any age. An AED is the only effective treatment for restoring a regular heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest and is an easy to operate tool for someone with no medical background."
The Red Cross website points out that an AED – a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the potentially life threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia in a patient – is able to treat patients through defibrillation, the application of electrical therapy which stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.
The Red Cross believes that improved training and access to AEDs could save 50,000 lives each year. They also say all Americans should be within four minutes of an AED and someone trained to use it.
The average response time for first responders once 911 is called is 8-12 minutes. For each minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival is reduced approximately 10 percent.
TSC Hampton Roads and NSWCDD Dam Neck Activity are located aboard Naval Air Station Oceana Dam Neck Annex in Virginia Beach, Va. TSC provides centralized student management and support to Navy learning centers and their elements in the execution of their training responsibilities. NSWCDD Dam Neck Activity is a systems engineering, acquisition, and in-service support organization that engineers and fields warfare systems superiority.