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Off-duty Ga. fire-EMS lieutenant aids fellow FF-EMT after medical emergency

The Thomson-McDuffie County Fire and EMS members were getting lunch after an EMS class when one of them slumped over in his seat

By Laura French

THOMSON-MCDUFFIE COUNTY, Ga. — An off-duty Georgia fire-EMS lieutenant came to the aid of his colleague, a firefighter-EMT, after a medical emergency.

Thomson-McDuffie County Firefighter-EMT John Payne was getting lunch with fellow first responders after an EMS class when he slumped over in his seat at the restaurant, according to The McDuffie Progress. One of his colleagues, McDuffie County Fire and EMS Lt. Jimmy Williams, quickly came to his aid.

“I was eating and my last recollections was that I was coughing,” Payne told The McDuffie Progress. “The next recollection I had was Jimmy pounding on my chest, and I remember asking him what he was doing.”

Payne later learned from a cardiologist that he had suffered a sinus arrest, and said the doctor told him he would have died if there was no one around to help him.

Williams said he saw Payne slump over and turn blue, and initially thought he was choking. He said he was glad to be in the right place at the right time to help his colleague, who has known since the beginning of his career at the agency.

According to American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines, “The intent of precordial thump is to transmit the mechanical force of the ‘thump’ to the heart as electric energy analogous to a pacing stimulus or very low-energy shock (depending on its force) ... although the thump may be useful as a single brief intervention under specific circumstances (ie, when a cardiac arrest is witnessed by the responder and monitor-confirmed to be due to VF/VT and a defibrillator is not readily available for use), it should not delay CPR or deployment of a defibrillator.”

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