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Teamwork saves a mans life at Liberty County YMCA
Hinesville City Council honors all who helped heart-attack victim
YMCA award
Hinesville City Council presented certificates recognizing the heroic actions of Liberty County/Armed Services YMCA staff in saving the life of Pravin Peter Patel (second from left, back row) Thursday. Those recognized, from left, were YMCA employees Myleigh Terrell, Erin Chester, Terry Hatfield, Doni Brezenski and William Davidson, and Y member Auldwin Frasier. - photo by Photo by Cailtin Kenney

Pravin “Peter” Patel was working out at the local branch of the YMCA around 1 p.m. Dec. 14, as he has done for many years, when he lost consciousness.

Patel was in full cardiac arrest when an off-duty police officer, YMCA staff and another patron came to his aid, helping him off the exercise machine, calling 911, performing CPR and using an automated external defibrillator.

Myleigh Terrell, the aquatics and gymnastics director at the Liberty County/Armed Services Branch of the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, was one of several people to help.

Terrell said that when she came in, “I saw him on the floor. I saw Terry (Hatfield) and another patron helping him, and I immediately went to him, took a pulse, checked for breathing, found neither, and began CPR.

“Within just seconds of beginning CPR, Doni (Brezenski) came with the AED and the oxygen, and she began pulling everything out, getting it ready for me,” Terrell continued. “As soon as it was ready, we put the AED pads on him and turned the AED on.”

According to Hinesville police Chief George Stagmeier, who presented the report at the City Council meeting Thursday, Patel had to be shocked several times.

EMS arrived and took over first aid. Patel eventually regained consciousness and was transported to Liberty Regional Medical Center, according to the police report.

“It was clear to me when I read our report that it was a team effort,” Stagmeier said. “Not any one person really could have done all of this by themselves. And working as a team probably saved his life.”

After Stagmeier spoke, the city presented certificates recognizing the heroic actions of those involved in saving Patel. The off-duty police officer, who helped with CPR, desired to remain anonymous but also received a certificate. Patel stood with the council as the names of those who helped save his life were called.

The recipients were: Myleigh Terrell, Erin Chester (the YMCA’s military outreach director), Terry Hatfield (the Y’s membership director), Doni Brezenski (the Y’s fitness and sports coordinator), William Davidson (the Y’s Welcome Center attendant) and Auldwin Frasier, a YMCA member.

Mayor Allen Brown said the city is indebted to each of them.

Terrell said working with the other YMCA staff “all fell into place.”

“We’ve never really had something like this magnitude since I’ve been here happen,” she said. “We all kind of knew what we needed to do.”

Terrell said she is happy that it turned out the way it did and that she’s had the training for a long time and never had to use it. She started working as a lifeguard at age 15 and has professional rescuer training, including CPR and first aid.

“I feel blessed that he is up walking around and able to even come back here and work out and feel like this is a safe place for him to be,” she said.

Later during the City Council meeting, a representative for Patel spoke on his behalf about his gratitude to those who saved his life. She said Patel “feels deeply, deeply humbled and very deeply touched from now on forward in all his life” for all that the YMCA staff and first responders did for him.

The representative added that Patel was deeply touched by the fact that, even as one who came to the U.S. from a developing country, he was warmly embraced and helped by YMCA staff, first responders and hospital staff.

Donna Waite, the Y’s branch director, said her takeaway from this experience was the value of the staff’s training and having an AED machine in the building. She said people who have talked to the YMCA after the incident and do not have an AED machine are now thinking about getting one.

Terrell agreed with Waite and said that in addition, her own takeaway was the importance of people using the buddy system and that anyone can receive CPR training.

“I just want to reiterate that it was a group effort. That it wasn’t solely me — yes, I did the CPR — but without the team, it would have turned out very differently,” Terrell said.

“From the 911 call to the finishing up paperwork, it was a team effort. It really was,” she added.

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