October 18, 2010

Student Transported to Hospital After Suffering Seizure in Kroch Library

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A Cornell student suffered a seizure and went into cardiac arrest Monday in the sub-basement of Kroch Library. Cornell Police, who responded to the scene, experienced radio failure in the sub-basement and staggered officers through the library to relay emergency messages.While the student’s pulse was revived, his condition and identity were unavailable as of late Monday night. Both Cornell Police Chief Kathy Zoner and Interim Deputy University Spokesperson Claudia Wheatley said they could not provide details.  The student was transported to the hospital by Bangs Ambulance and his condition has not yet been released.Michael Hyon ’13 was the first to respond. He heard strange noises coming from nearby and found the student on the floor. After taking Emergency Medical Training courses this summer, he identified the signs of a seizure, called paramedics and began CPR. Hyon continued to assist with CPR and defibrillation after CUEMS arrived. Once CUEMS responders administered a shock, and as Hyon continued compressions, he felt a heartbeat. “Initially, I was afraid because I’ve never performed CPR on a person before,” he said. “I felt like I had the responsibility and training to do it.”

Hyon said that the time between losing and regaining a pulse was approximately five minutes.

“I wouldn’t say I saved his life, but I helped bring his pulse back,” he said. CUEMS Director Tiffany Chang ’11 said that she plans to contact Hyon in the coming days.“I would like to reach out to this person for doing this great act of community service and of being of such good assistance to us,” Chang said. Hyon said that his application to CUEMS was rejected earlier this semester, but said he hopes to reapply next semester. Asa Craig ’11 said he saw the emergency personnel enter the library and entered Kroch to see what was going on. While students stayed at their desks studying, he heard paramedics on their radios and the sounds of the defibrillator being charged. “My first reaction is [to] hope everything is alright and to be concerned about a fellow Cornellian,” Craig said. “It was weird that they were charging the defibrillator, [while] for everyone on the first floor it was business as usual. That was a little disconcerting.” The response efforts to the incident were complicated by the lack of cell phone service in the sub-basement. First responders could not communicate initially with those outside the building. Zoner said that the CUEMS responders quickly realized the problem and adapted to the situation by staggering officers through the building, which helped relay messages outside. Treatment was never delayed, she said. Zoner said CUPD is aware of Kroch library and other locations on campus where radio communication is impaired, but declined to give other examples. “It would be like saying where all the doors are unlocked on campus,” she said. “We try to fix them when we find them.” However, Zoner said fixing the transmission of Kroch library would be egregiously expensive.

Original Author: Juan Forrer