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Right people in right place at right time = life

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AETCNS) -- A man collapses on a softball field, turns blue and stops breathing. His teammates are trained in self-aid and buddy care. Medical personnel are playing on an adjacent field. A fire truck equipped with an automated external defibrillator is parked nearby.

What are the odds all those lifesaving elements would be at the Triangle softball complex at that moment May 31? Because they were, Staff Sgt. Darin Ginder, 35, with the 81st Transportation Squadron, is alive today.

The drama unfolded when the sergeant overran second base and dived back to the bag. He landed face down, one hand on the bag, and motionless. Not only was he called out by the umpire, he was unconscious.

Although medics and then firefighters who happened to be at the softball complex eventually stepped in, the first to come to Sergeant Ginder's aid were three teammates, 2nd Lt. Mark Williams and Nickie Bailey, with the 81st TRNS, and Master Sgt. Michael Krejci, 81st Supply Squadron.

With help from other members of the team, the trio turned Sergeant Ginder onto his back.

"His face was already fairly blue and his breathing stopped," Lieutenant Williams said.
Calling on their self-aid and buddy care training, the lieutenant, sergeant and civilian attempted to open Sergeant Ginder's mouth to clear any blockage from his airway. They were unsuccessful.

"He was lock-jawed," Lieutenant Williams said.

Ms. Bailey suggested cardiopulmonary resuscitation, which she and the lieutenant did.

Shortly, they turned Sergeant Ginder's care over to Master Sgt. Angelo Plaza and Airmen 1st Class Derek Gablinske and Brett Wolfe. Sergeant Plaza, 81st Medical Support Squadron, and the two Airmen from the 81st Medical Operations Squadron, scaled a 10-foot fence to get from an adjacent softball field to the scene. They continued CPR.

Luckily, the fire department softball team, complete with a fire truck, was also present, waiting for a field to become available.

Firefighters Troy Smith, Chad Martin and Guy Chadwick were running toward the commotion when Mr. Smith "heard people yelling that Sergeant Ginder wasn't breathing." Mr. Smith called over his shoulder for the AED on the fire truck.

"The AED pads were placed on the patient's chest and I started monitoring his vitals," Mr. Smith said. "'No sign of pulse ... shock advised,' was reported (by the AED), so I shocked him."

Nothing. Mr. Smith shocked Sergeant Ginder again.

About that time, and only eight minutes after the sergeant collapsed, ambulance crews from Keesler Medical Center and American Medical Response arrived. Sergeant Ginder was handed over to them.

"As we were leaving the field, we were told he became responsive in the ambulance," Mr. Smith said.

The sergeant was taken to Biloxi Regional Medical Center by AMR, where his condition was stabilized. The following day, he was transferred to Ocean Springs Hospital, where he was a patient in the cardiac care unit until his release June 9.

"I just dropped," is all Sergeant Ginder said he remembers of the incident.

Although he had no history of heart trouble, "The doctors said my heart is weak, so they put a defibrillator/pacemaker in my chest," the sergeant said from his home, where he's convalescing.

The device monitors the heart and has the capability to identify and respond to irregularities.

Sergeant Ginder said there hasn't been an opportunity to personally thank all those who came to his aid May 31, "But my wife and I are working on a letter to them."