On May 22,2012, 16 year old Brock Ruether headed to town to attend volleyball practice in preparation for the fall season.
At 7:25 PM, Brock experienced a sudden cardiac arrest event. He collapsed face down on the gym floor.
There was an AED located at the gym doors. It is important to note that almost 95% of young athletes in sudden cardiac arrest may be saved if shocked in the first minute of arrest.
Tragically, the Emergency Medical Dispatcher had not been trained to recognize agonal breathing (the abnormal breathing sometimes present in cardiac arrest). Furthermore, she did not request that the bystanders or people performing CPR actually use the available AED unit, just to get it ‘in case we need it later’.
Caller: yeah well he’s just stopped breathing.
Dispatch: he just stopped breathing. If there is a defibrillator available send someone to get it now in case we need it later.
Caller: ok. Uh (talking in background). Ok, we’re grabbing the defibrillator right now.
The AED was retrieved, placed beside Brock, and remained there, unused.
Without defibrillation shock, survival rates decrease about 10% for every minute that passes. Brock's chance at life decreased to 0% in that most critical first few minutes.
Over 13 minutes after Brock's collapse, EMS finally used their defibrillator. At that point, the monitor determined he was still in ventricular fibrillation (V-fib), with agonal respirations. However, it was too late.
By 8:45 PM, the attending physician pronounced Brock dead.
Without the proper chain of survival in place, our children are denied the best chance of survival. We hope to change the outcome for future children, in his memory. We forever miss you Brock.