AED, bystanders save life


By Sam Wildow

[email protected]

PIQUA — Access to an automated external defibrillator (AED), along with bystanders trained and willing stepping up to help, saved the life of local Piqua resident Glen Madden on June 25.

“I go to the gym every single day,” Madden said. “A lot of times, I go twice a day … Usually, I will run at least one mile.”

Madden, who works at Continental in St. Mary’s, described how he woke up on June 25 not feeling well. That evening, he went to Planet Fitness a little earlier than usual, which put him there at the same time as Amber Ike, who was recently certified to operate an AED.

What began as a regular workout at Planet Fitness for Madden turned into a race to save his life as he went into sudden cardiac arrest.

Madden described running on the treadmill and going to the water fountains to refill his bottle of water before passing out and falling backward moments later.

“I just barely remember blacking out,” Madden said.

Ike, another Piqua resident, was leaving the locker room at Planet Fitness to go home when she saw Madden unresponsive and lying on the ground.

“Something told me, ‘You should see what’s going on,’” Ike said. “He had blood coming out of the back of his head, and I could tell he wasn’t breathing because he was starting to turn purple.”

Planet Fitness employees Dakota Walker and Joseph Sullivan had rushed to help Madden, with one performing CPR and the other calling for emergency services.

Ike immediately stepped in to help, asking employees if there was AED machine available.

“I jumped in and started doing CPR on Glen,” Ike said. “I asked them, ‘Do you have an AED machine?’ I kept doing CPR on him until they got back with the AED.”

Ike shocked him once with the AED and kept performing CPR on Madden until he started breathing again.

“He took a big gasp of air,” Ike said.

With Ike’s actions applying the AED to Madden, she was able to save Madden’s life, which has been an experience that has impacted the both of them, giving them a new appreciation for life and their faith.

“It’s surreal,” Ike said. “Sometimes it’s so hard to believe that that actually happened.”

Ike said the experience renewed the sentiment of not taking life for granted.

“It just reminds you how unexpected things can be,” Ike said. “It makes you think twice.”

Madden said he wakes up every day, appreciating each new day he gets to see.

“I’m very, very thankful to see the sunrise each day,” Madden said. “You have a whole new perspective when you look out the window.”

This experience has also reinforced Madden’s belief that most people are good at heart, as well as in his belief that it was it divine intervention that brought him to the right people at the right time to help save his life.

“To me, that is the most shocking and amazing part about all of this is, in the rat race of life, we get so caught up with everything, we forget that most people are wonderful, good-meaning, well-natured people that are just trying to live their day-to-day lives and enjoy life the same as we are,” Madden said. “Sometimes in news, we absorb all of the bad stuff and we don’t see enough or experience enough of the good things.”

Madden also said another bystander at the gym, Wyatt Peters, used his shirt to put it under Madden’s head to stop the bleeding where Madden had suffered a head injury from his fall.

“(He) literally gave me the shirt off his back,” Madden said.

For Madden, it was no coincidence that he was there at the same time as Ike and the other bystanders who helped him, explaining he felt it was a blessing and that he was under “God’s favor and protection.”

“They were all very key pieces to the puzzle,” Madden said.

Ike feels similarly that it was more than a coincidence that she was there.

“I truly believe that God put me there for that reason,” Ike said.

Madden and Ike met again by chance recently at Piqua’s 4th Fest with both their families, an experience that they both described as emotional.

“She gave me this great big, squeezing hug — wonderful opportunity to meet her and get to talk with her a little bit,” Madden said. Madden said Ike and her husband almost brought him to tears.

“Maybe all of this is coincidence, but the more I come to know things and make these connections, to me, it is way more divine than just a whole bunch of coincidences that fit together perfectly where it ultimately saved my life,” Madden said.

Madden reiterated how thankful he was to Ike and the other bystanders, as well as to the Planet Fitness for having the AED on site.

“There’s no dollar amount or no item that you can give someone to say, truly, thank you enough and adequately,” Madden said. “I have a wife and a young son, and I sure want to be able to see my son grow up and enjoy living life, too. But I can’t tell these folks thank you, truly, enough.”

For Ike, she said, “”There’s no thank you required.”

Madden, who has never had any heart issues before, was recently released from the hospital following this experience. He said doctors, who determined it had not been caused by a heart attack, still do not know what caused him to go into cardiac arrest that day. Madden now has a pacemaker to make sure it would not happen again.

“I’ve been recovering well,” Madden said.

Madden said that CPR would not have been enough to save his life as those performing CPR would have had to break Madden’s ribs in order to get a deep enough compression to impact his heart.

The Red Cross describes AEDs as medical devices used to analyze the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm. According to the American Heart Association, nine in 10 cardiac arrest victims who receive a shock from an AED in the first minute live.

“Just to have it (the AED) on-site — it was pretty amazing that they had it,” Madden said.

“The AED is what got his heart going again,” Ike said. Without it, she said, “I don’t know what would have happened.”

Jessica Chabot, executive director of Operations and Marketing at Planet Fitness, provided a statement from Planet Fitness that having an AED on-site is part of the business’ mission to provide “a welcoming, non-intimidating environment,” which they refer to as “the Judgement Free Zone.”

“Because of this mission, our membership base consists of varying fitness and experience levels, and therefore it is important that we maximize our club safety procedures,” Chabot stated. “Having a high quality AED onsite and a team of staff members who are fully CPR/AED trained and certified helps us deliver that comfortable, non-intimidating environment by assuring our members that we invest in their safety as well as our teams’ safety. Despite different requirements state to state, we know that safety is a universal element that our members seek when they decide to join the PF family and we will continue to deliver it.”

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