The Darwin Awards

2005 At-Risk Survivor

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Juice Me Up!
2005 At-Risk Survivor
Confirmed True by Darwin

(2005, Florida) My cousin is a paramedic who related the following story: "Sparky" was a twenty-eight-year-old brand-spanking-new EMT student. His first day in the medic lab, he marked the occasion by taking the defibrillator paddles, placing them on his chest, and shouting, "Juice me up!"

Ding Dong EMT Student #2 took him at his word, charging up the paddles and shocking Sparky with 360 joules. Sparky took all of six steps before collapsing in full cardiac arrest. His fellow classmates practiced CPR until the paramedics arrived three minutes later. The paramedics defibrillated Sparky once again at 360 J, returning him to a normal sinus rhythm and saving his life.

He was intubated, given a round of epi [epinephrin] and brought as a post-code [coronary arrest] to the emergency room where I work. With the hopes that Sparky did not sustain brain damage from hypoxia, or ischemia to his heart, he should have a full recovery. I worked on Sparky for four hours, eventually wheeling him to intensive care just before I left.

Sparky currently (heh heh) is a volunteer firefighter with aspirations of being hired as a paramedic/firefighter. In true EMS spirit, he has been given the new nicknames AC/DC and Joules. He broke two golden rules:

The student who charged the defibrillator stayed after class to write, "I will not electrocute my classmates," one hundred times on the board. Thank God for paramedics. And God, please protect children, fools, and students.

Darwin asks, "What's a 'post-code'? I discovered this event is true, not an Urban Legend! What a useful teaching story. The man involved can be proud he's saving other EMT students a painful lesson!"

Readers respond: A number of readers wrote in to clarify that the "code" in post code would be a coronary arrest. In many health care situations, such events are not described by name to minimize distress among observers and bystanders. Thanks to everyone who contributed an answer to that question.

Cowgirl Samantha says, "I attend the school that this guy went to. My instructor was one of the hospital staff that stabilized him. I have some corrections. He was an EMT, NOT a paramedic student, and he had been told repeatedly to leave the equipment alone, as it was advanced beyond his skills and the skills he was going to learn. He made a full recovery--aside from the deficits he demonstrably had prior to this event. Just to correct some minor misconceptions."

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Reference: Multiple independent personal accounts.

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