Rescuers Recognized and Reunited with Man Whose Life They Saved

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Los Angeles

Los Angeles Fire Department Board of Fire Commissioners recognized rescuers for their live-saving actions, and these rescuers were surprised by that same man's presence to thank them face-to-face for bringing him back from cardiac arrest.

On February 18, 2020, the Board of Fire Commissioners presented awards recognizing a team of firefighters that saved a man's life after he dropped dead at a carwash. The incident took place approximately a year and one-half earlier (August of 2018), just after 10 A.M. A 43-year-old male was waiting at a carwash, when he told bystanders he did not feel well. Shortly thereafter, he collapsed.

Isaac Diaz's heart had stopped supplying blood to his body on its own, but that did not stop a bystander from performing good quality CPR to continue that blood flow to Isaac's brain and vital organs. Another bystander dialed 9-1-1 to get the firefighter-paramedics responding as quickly as possible, while early CPR was being performed. These are the first two vital links in the cardiac chain of survival. LAFD arrived and took over CPR, applied the defibrillator pads, and rapidly delivered electricity the the quivering heart. This quick action by firefighter-paramedics jolted Mr. Diaz's heart, thereby resetting it and allowing his automatic intrinsic heart beat to resume. The medical term typically used is "Return of Spontaneous Circulation," or ROSC. Once rescuers found that their intervention had brought about ROSC, they stopped chest compressions and moved on to the next series of required advanced life support measures, which are designed to sustain an individual who has been brought back from the brink. 

As first responders know all too well, initial life-saving measures are provided and then patients are transferred to a doctor's care at a local Emergency Department, and that's where the interaction ends. There is rarely feedback of how it turns out. Every day, first responders provide care and never learn of the outcome. Well, today, as these rescuers were being recognized, they were surprised to see Isaac Diaz walk through the door to thank them personally. His kind words were so powerful, and mean so much to those who were there to help him that day. He was kind and gracious enough to take time from his schedule to come celebrate these individuals. 

""How do you thank the people who saved your life? You not only saved my life, but I'm married, so you impacted my wife. I have two boys, 16 and 14. You impacted them." Thank you, Mr. Diaz, for taking the time to share these words with us and tell us the end of the story. This is such a gift for the firefighters who performed their duties, to know that you have made a significant recovery and are able to continue being a cornerstone for your wife and two sons.

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