Carol Mathewson could not have imagined that her life would soon be hanging in the balance when she entered Lake Washington for the 2008 Danskin Triathlon. Despite being in peak physical condition, the 56-year-old woman went into sudden cardiac arrest and went underwater.
Thanks to the quick response by emergency medical technicians and paramedics, Mathewson survived. After being brought to shore by event staff, Seattle Firefighter/Paramedics Bryan Smith and Zach Drathman performed CPR and used an Automatic Defibrillator to shock Carol’s heart. For at least six minutes, Carol had no pulse. She was successfully resuscitated and spent nearly a month recovering at Harborview Medical Center.
Today, at Fire Station 28 in the Rainier Valley, Carol met with the medics and firefighters who helped resuscitate her on that fateful day. She also got a chance to meet Dr. Leonard Cobb, who helped pioneer emergency medical services in Seattle in the late 1960’s. Today, Seattle and King County set the standard for paramedic training and pre-hospital emergency care in the United States and worldwide.
The reunion kicked off National EMS Week, which takes place May 16-22. EMS Week pays tribute to all those involved in providing emergency medical services — from the person who teaches CPR to the paramedic on the front line.
This year, EMS Week is highlighting child safety. Unintentional injuries remain the leading cause of death for children three to five years old. To reduce unintentional injuries among children, the Seattle Fire Department developed an injury prevention curriculum for those who care for preschool aged children in Seattle.