Above the call of duty

LIHUE — A hotel guest is alive today thanks to security staff who used CPR and a defibrillator after her heart stopped.

Alice McKann, 72, of Chicago, was staying at the Marriott’s Kauai Beach Club timeshare on Kalapaki Bay in March. She was unaware that an artery to her heart was nearly blocked and suffered a heart attack in her room. Security staff used their Red Cross training to re-start her heart.

“They were incredible,” McKann said. “They really saved my life.”

McKann said she can’t remember a thing that Thursday afternoon but knows now that she went into sudden cardiac arrest. Everything stopped, her breathing and her heart.

She survived with the help of fast-thinking security staff and their Red Cross training.

“One quarter of Americans report that they have been in a situation where someone may have needed CPR,” said Hawaii Red Cross CEO Coralie Matayoshi. “Red Cross training can give people the skills and confidence they need to act in an emergency and to save lives.”

It was about 9 a.m. March 7 when McKann had shortness of breath and slumped over a chair. Her sister called Kauai Marriott Security Dispatch.

Hotel security officers Bobby Texeira, Daniel Esaki and Donald Okami arrived and found McKann unresponsive and showing no signs of life. They began CPR and used an automated external defibrillator to determine if a shock was needed to try and restore the heart’s normal rhythm.

The AED is designed to allow someone with little training to apply the electrical paddles. The hotel AED device advised the security officers that a shock was needed.

McKann responded and began breathing on her own. The officers reassured her sister and continued monitoring the guest until an ambulance arrived.

After being transported to Wilcox Memorial Hospital in Lihue, McKann was flown by medical jet to Straub Hospital in Honolulu, where doctors placed a catheter into her blocked artery. She was released the following Saturday, and was back at the Kauai Marriott to personally thank the three security officers for saving her life.

“It was over and above the call of duty,” McKann said. “These were three gentleman and guardian angels for both me and for the concern they showed for my sister at the hospital.”

Okami, a former U.S. Marine, had received his first Red Cross CPR/AED and first aid training the day before.

McAnn said it is common knowledge that security staff provide safety, but did not expect that the Marriott and the Red Cross would train them to use CPR and the defibrillator.

“I think that it’s extremely important that people know how to use CPR and the defibrillators,” McKann said. “There are even instructions that tell what to do as you are doing it.”

Kauai Marriott Safety and Security Specialist Patsy Hamada is a certified CPR trainer who has taught the lifesaving skills for 25 years with the Hawaii State Chapter of The American National Red Cross.

“They have simplified the AED, which is great,” Hamada said. “There are simple picture instructions on how to apply the two paddles and they put it in public areas like Kukui Grove.”

The Red Cross is urging everyone to be better prepared by taking advantage of training and mobile apps available to help them know what to do when the time comes when someone needs their assistance.

“You never know what will happen or where or when and what the situation will be,” Hamada said. “You could be driving down the road come across someone who needs help. You could be eating dinner somewhere when someone starts choking.”

Register for Red Cross First classes on CPR and use of an AED, and the new Red Cross Family First Aid and CPR online course at www.redcross.org/take-a-class or call

1-800-REDCROSS.

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