Blizzard’s Timing Proves Beneficial For Chelmsford Husband And Father

This past January, the strongest nor’easter in four years hit New England. Some areas saw two to three inches of snow per hour and near-blizzard wind speeds, prompting authorities to advise motorists to stay off the roads. Randi Davidson was sent home early from her job at Winchester Hospital and the ski resort where her husband Scott teaches canceled lessons. Both hunkered down to wait out the storm. Shortly after Scott headed to his office to join a ZOOM call, Randi felt a thud suddenly shake the walls of the house.

With winds gusting up to 40 miles an hour, Randi thought a tree hit the house. She grabbed her phone and ran from window to window. When she didn’t see anything unusual, she dashed to her husband’s office for his help. Instead, she found her 58-year-old husband Scott face down on the floor.

Scott was unresponsive when Randi shook him and rolled him onto his back. “His eyes didn’t look right,” she recalls. Randi suspected sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), so she opened her phone, put it on speaker, dialed 9‑1‑1, and began cardiopulmonary resuscitations (CPR). “I think my husband has had a heart attack,” she told the operator between rescue breaths.

“Of course, it all starts with my wife, Randi. She’s my hero and without her I wouldn’t be here.”

—Scott Davidson, SCA survivor

Randi couldn’t believe it. Her fit, athletic husband would have been home alone if it hadn’t been for the weather. Trying not to panic, Randi recalled CPR training she had back in college but wasn’t sure she was doing it correctly. “I remember thinking, ‘Do I need a better seal around his mouth? Am I lifting his neck high enough?’ The dispatcher helped me remain calm and rooted me,” she explains.

Rapid response in extreme conditions

The 9‑1‑1 operator supported Randi’s CPR efforts while also directing first responders to her address in Chelmsford and to her specific location within the house. Three and a half minutes after Randi dialed 9‑1‑1, despite the treacherous conditions outside, Chelmsford police officer Aiden Gillis and Sergeant Stephen Fredericks entered Randi’s home with an automated external defibrillator (AED). Officer Ashley Rokas also heard the call for help and went to lend assistance. All on-duty officers are equipped with an AED, according to Sgt. Fredericks.

Officer Gillis took over CPR while Sgt. Fredericks connected Scott to the ZOLL® AED Plus defibrillator. “I’ve done it several times,” Fredericks recalls. “The important thing is to make sure the AED is attached correctly so you can deliver high-quality CPR.”

Initially, the ZOLL AED Plus® instructed rescuers to continue CPR. A few moments later, it advised a shock. The officers followed the AED guidance, continuing CPR and delivering an additional shock before EMTs arrived. EMTs delivered four additional shocks before Scott was stable enough to be transported.

Timely care and treatment

When Scott arrived at Lowell General Hospital that Saturday, doctors put him into a medically induced coma and used temperature management to cool his body to protect his vital organs and give his heart a chance to rest and heal. Scott regained consciousness on Monday and remained in the hospital for a week while doctors tried to identify the cause of his SCA. They found no heart blockage or coronary artery disease and recommended an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) to prevent any further SCA events. The ICD was implanted on Friday and on Saturday, a week after his SCA, Scott returned home.

A steady recovery

Scott’s recovery hasn’t been without challenge, but he’s steadily getting his health back to where it was before his SCA in January.

Thanks to Randi’s quick response, the support of the 9‑1‑1 operator, and the first responders who came to his aid, five weeks after his SCA Scott was able to walk his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day. Scott returned to work in March and resumed golfing in May. He’s looking forward to resuming his job as ski instructor this winter.

Left to right: Elijah White (ZOLL), Brent Brooks (ZOLL), Andrew Creen (ZOLL), Officer Aiden Gillis, Officer Ashley Rokas, Scott Davidson, Randi Davidson, Sergeant Fredericks, Gene McAuliffe (ZOLL)

Heroes for Life

On Wednesday, May 18, 2022, Scott and Randi reconnected with police and EMT first responders at a ZOLL Heroes for Life event where rescuers were acknowledged for their quick action and heroism. Scott was presented with a ZOLL AED Plus to donate to a charity of his choice in the hopes that some untrained bystander will have the confidence to use it in an SCA emergency.

Scott and Randi are very grateful to everyone who came to Scott’s aid during a scary time and some pretty challenging weather. “Thank you to everyone who was involved. A lot of time this doesn’t end well, but luckily in my case, it did…and [it] certainly made a huge difference in my family’s life,” explains Scott.

While Scott’s life was obviously impacted by his SCA, Randi’s was significantly impacted in a less obvious way. Her perspective has changed after witnessing firsthand the lifesaving power of an AED in a bystander’s hands. “Now, instead of looking for an exit when I go somewhere, I’m looking around to see if there’s an AED.” explains Randi.

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