First Responders Who Saved A Life Receive Phoenix Award

by SC Reporter Wendy McMullen

Nine police and emergency medical service officers were presented with Phoenix awards for saving the life of Jane Henshaw, wife of Sanibel City Councilman John Henshaw, at Sanibel Fire and Rescue District meeting on Wednesday.

John and Jane Henshaw, center, with some of the first responders who helped save Jane’s life on April 3. SC photo by Wendy McMullen

Phoenix Awards are presented to first responders when they assist in the successful resuscitation of a cardiac arrest patient.

It took less than four minutes for Sanibel Police Officer Kyle Eckert to arrive at the Henshaw household on Lighthouse Way with an automated external defibrillator and relieve exhausted husband, John, who had been administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation after his wife went into cardiac arrest early in the morning of April 3.

Sanibel Police Officer Kyle Eckert surrounded by his proud family. Eckert was among the first responders who received the Phoenix Award for saving the life of Jane Henshaw, who was in cardiac arrest on April 3. Eckert had learned CPR to the beat of Bee Gee’s “Staying Alive,” which has exactly 100 beats a minute and is what the American Heart Association recommends for chest compressions during CPR. SC photo by Wendy McMullen

Officer Eckert immediately took over and used the AED to analyze the heart’s rhythm and deliver an electrical shock to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.

Jane Henshaw, left, passes a Phoenix Award to Lt. Grace Towler. SC photo by Wendy McMullen

Within minutes Sanibel’s emergency medical team, along with Lieutenant Grace Towler from the SPD arrived to help stabilize the patient’s breathing and offer support to her husband. The patient was then taken to Lee Health Park by Lee County EMS and released the following week with no apparent ill effects.

“She was a former nurse and we knew she was recovered when she started telling the nurses what to do,” quipped her husband.

Henshaw was alerted to his wife’s condition by strange sounds. Finding that she had no pulse, had stopped breathing and that her lips had turned blue, he called 911 while pulling his wife on to the floor and starting CPR. Henshaw had experience with CPR as a former lifeguard and coach, but said he was helped and encouraged by Dispatcher Courtney McCarthy who advised him on the timing and pressure required.

“She told me not to be afraid to break a few ribs,” he said.

The nine emergency personnel who were awarded Phoenix plaques were 911 Dispatcher Courtney McCarthy, Sanibel Police Officers Kyle Eckert and Grace Towler, Sanibel Fire and Rescue District Captain Chris Jackson and fire fighters Robert Bell, Arian Moore and Michael Tejeda and Lee County Emergency Management personnel Mike Cunningham and Wayne Young.

Captain John DiMaria of the Sanibel Fire and Rescue District said that they could provide CPR courses to any interested individuals or groups. The fire district can be reached by phone at 239-472-5525 for more information.

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