Colleagues save firefighter-paramedic having heart attack on duty

Captain Dave Galbraith took an elevator to his colleague’s office when he felt pressure coming from his torso

By FireRescue1 Staff

TUCKER, Ga. — A firefighter-paramedic was rescued by his colleagues when he had a heart attack at work.

FOX5 reported that Captain Dave Galbraith was at his desk in March when he began to feel symptoms.

"I started having a full, heavy, almost a pressure feeling in my torso, up into my shoulders and down my arms," Capt. Galbraith said.

Capt. Galbraith then took the elevator to the office of one of his colleagues, Captain Kimberly Bulloch.

"I tried very hard to not recognize that I was having a heart attack," Capt. Galbraith said. "I'm not proud of that, but I think it's a really common impulse, denial. It can't be me.  It can't be happening."

Capt. Bulloch attached him to a portable heart monitor and had a co-worker call 911, and firefighter-paramedic Terry White came in to help.

"When we walk in, it's complete silence," White said. "You can definitely tell something is going on, and you can definitely tell it's one of ours."

Capt. Galbraith was rushed to the hospital where they found he had complete blockage of his left anterior descending artery, what they call “the widow-maker.” The doctor reopened the blood flow by threading a balloon-tipped catheter up the artery.

Galbraith was part of a team that worked to speed up care on heart attack patients by connecting EMS crews with local ERs and cath labs. He is now retired and is grateful that his former colleagues saved his life.

"I don't think it was an accident that the stars aligned that day. I think here it metro Atlanta we have an excellent system in place," he said.

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