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For Immediate Release:  November 22, 2017

Team effort, AtlantiCare AED assist, tackle coach’s heart attack
Team rushes, AED gives audibles, coach survives

AtlantiCare presented an automated external defibrillator to the Egg Harbor Township Youth Organization on July 19, 2017 through the AtlantiCare Foundation’s Heart Heroes Matching Funds Program. The Ocean City Police Benevolent Association Local 61 had contributed the matched funds for the AED.

On Saturday, November 4, 2017 an AtlantiCare physician assistant and others used that AED to help save a Cape May Court House man’s life.

Matt McAnaney, 43, of Cape May Court House, was coaching the Middle Township Panthers Junior Varsity football in their Cape Atlantic Football League game against the Egg Harbor Township Eagles. There were about three minutes left in the game at the Egg Harbor Township Veterans Memorial Sports Complex.

McAnaney had just given his quarterback, who is also his son, Micah, a play. The coach then fell to the ground. “I remember I fell on my face and then I woke in the ambulance,” he said.

Dave DeMara, PA-C, an assistant coach for the Eagles, was coaching the team from the announcer booth.  “I knew from the way he went down that he had had a heart attack,” said DeMara, who is chief physician assistant at the Heart Institute at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center (ARMC) in Pomona., NJ. DeMara said he ran from the announcer’s booth. When he got to McAnaney, two off-duty emergency medical technicians, Kristen Davis and Katrina Warren, had begun helping the coach.

“I told them I am a physician assistant and assist with open heart surgeries at AtlantiCare and that I could tell he’d had a heart attack. Somebody said, ‘We’re getting the AED.’ Someone yelled, ‘We just called 911,’” said DeMara.

 “We laid him flat and one of the EMTs started CPR,” said DeMara of McAnaney. 

“When the defibrillator arrived, someone else hooked the AED leads up.  I put the pads on the patient. While the AED was analyzing, I relieved the EMT who was providing CPR. I stopped when the AED began analyzing the patient.  The first electronic analysis said, ‘Shock advised.’ ”

At about that point, David Kenny, D.O., ARMC Medical Staff radiologist, who is an EHT YO varsity coach, arrived. He had been on another field at the complex. The defibrillator gave a second instruction that it was analyzing McAnaney and that a shock was advised. “After the shock, we resumed CPR,” said DeMara. 

The AED did its third analysis. The team took their hands off McAnaney as the device analyzed him and then administered its third shock. The team began CPR again. “About 15 seconds later, the coach was awake, moving and answering questions. We held oxygen to his face. I told the AtlantiCare paramedics, ‘I am sure he is having an acute heart attack. He just fibrillated. He needs to be where we can do emergency heart caths.” “It all happened so fast,” said Sarah McAnaney. “The other coaches didn't leave Matt’s side while he lay on the field. When I asked Steve Yob and Jennifer Brady of the Egg Harbor Township Ambulance Squad where they were taking my husband, Jennifer said AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Mainland Campus is where she’d want her family to go for a heart attack.”

“After Matt was in the ambulance, the entire complex went to the 50 yard line to pray and have kind thoughts for Matt,” said Sarah. “It was nice how the two teams came together.”

AtlantiCare paramedics Christopher Breunig and Colleen Contino began communicating with the ARMC Mainland Campus Emergency Department while on scene. The Emergency Department and Cardiac Catheterization and Rhythm Center Heart Institute teams were ready to care for McAnaney when he arrived at the hospital campus in Pomona. Howard Levite, M.D., AtlantiCare Physician Group Cardiology, performed an emergency cardiac catheterization. He stented one of McAnaney’s arteries to open blood flow to the heart. Two days later, after McAnaney was stabilized, Levite stented a second artery. McAnaney was released from the hospital Tuesday, November 7.

“People reacted quickly,” said Kenny. “Everybody did a really fantastic job.” Kenny, DeMara, and Levite each stressed how critical it was to have an AED at the scene. “Without the AED, and someone dialing 911, our quick, coordinated efforts, might not have made a life-saving difference,” said DeMara. He added, “Joe Griffiths, Egg Harbor Township Police officer, helped facilitate getting the crews in quickly.”

Winners all around The Eagles 6-0 game did not resume after McAnaney’s heart attack.  Middle was declared the winner. Out of respect for the coach, the varsity players opted not to play their game. The teams did a coin toss to determine the winner. Egg Harbor Township got the win . Replay of the day I felt a little weird during the game. My arms started feeling heavy.  I thought it was because I was excited about the game and needed to calm down,” said McAnaney. “My son said I didn’t call the numbers right, but he knew what I meant. He’s a pretty smart kid.”

In retrospect “When we had training about AEDs as coaches, I remember thinking, ‘Why would we ever need this?’” said McAnaney.

Coach to coach Neither DeMara nor McAnaney recalled formally meeting each other in previous coaching encounters. “Dave met me during the game that Saturday,” said Matt McAnaney. “I met him at the hospital when he came in to check on me.  I kept thanking him and he kept saying, ‘It wasn’t me, it was the defibrillator.’”

Team effort Matt and Sarah McAnaney said it took a team to care for them. “Whether they took care of Matt, our kids, or me,” we are so grateful, said Sarah.

Dominic Branca, president of the Egg Harbor Township Youth Organization, was among those who accepted the AED from the AtlantiCare Heart Heroes in July. “I couldn’t be more proud of the EHTYO family tonight,” he wrote the evening of the game in a post on the EHT YO’s Facebook page under a picture of the AED casing.

“You saved my husband.  Words cannot express our gratitude. Thank you for everyone's love, support and prayers,” responded Sarah McAnaney to the post.

The handoff McAnaney plans to follow up with Vinesh Patel, M.D., FACC, AtlantiCare Physician Group Cardiology, who saw him in the hospital.

The AED receiver Michele Chishko, EHT YO general Board member and head cheerleading coach, had submitted the application for the AED to AtlantiCare. She had detailed the activities that take place on the field six days a week. She had noted children ages five to 15; and that coaches and assistant coaches participate in sports and practices. She had mentioned high parent involvement in watching and supporting the activities. ”We would like to be prepared for the dreaded emergency of a heart attack,” she had written.

Forward progress Two weeks after the experience, and as they prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, Sarah said the McAnaney family is still overwhelmed with gratitude. “The support from our entire community has been truly overwhelming and so much appreciated. I wish I could find the right words to truly show out gratitude.” Sarah McAnaney said the Middle Township Football Association will now be applying for an AED from the AtlantiCare Heart Heroes Program. “We have already started fundraising for the matching funds for one,” She explained. “It would mean so much to Matt and me to be able to help us get one for our football team.”

About the AtlantiCare Heart Heroes Matching Funds Program The AtlantiCare Heart Heroes Matching Funds Program is an AtlantiCare Foundation-funded program that places AEDs in the community on behalf of the Heart Institute at ARMC. The program began in 2002, spurred by a small group of dedicated AtlantiCare volunteers known as “The Heart Heroes”, who raised funds to help AtlantiCare make AEDs available in the community.  Organizations, groups and individuals can donate directly to the program by making a gift to the AtlantiCare Foundation.

The AED AtlantiCare placed at the Egg Harbor Township Veterans Memorial Sports Complex was the 235th AtlantiCare has placed through the program. AtlantiCare presented an AED to Volunteers in Medicine of South Jersey, Egg Harbor Township November 16. It presented an AED through the Matching Funds Program to Upper Township Elementary School November 21. AtlantiCare will present three AEDs to Stafford Township November 29: two for use by Stafford Township Police and one for the Township’s recreation center. The Stafford Township Rotary Club will cover the matching funds for those placements. Friday, December 1, AtlantiCare will host a CPR refresher course for representatives of organizations that have received AEDs through the Heart Heroes Program.

For more information about the AtlantiCare Heart Heroes Matching Funds Program, or other AtlantiCare programs, or to find a provider, call the AtlantiCare Access Center 1-888-569-1000, visit www.atlanticare.org or find AtlantiCare on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atlanticare.

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AtlantiCare, a member of Geisinger, is an integrated system of services designed to help people achieve optimal health. It includes AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, AtlantiCare Health Engagement, the AtlantiCare Foundation, and AtlantiCare Health Services. Nearly 5,900 employees and more than 900 physicians serve the community in nearly 90 locations. A 2009 Malcolm Baldrige Award winner, AtlantiCare was also included in Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare in 2010. ARMC became the 105th hospital in the nation to attain status as a Magnet™ designated hospital in March of 2004 and was redesignated a Magnet™ hospital in 2008 and 2013.

 

Media Contact: Jennifer Tornetta, (O) 609-569-7010, (C) 609-335-3446, jennifer.tornetta@atlanticare.org

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