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CPR Knowledge and AED Use Save a Life at HMFW

FORT WORTH, Texas – Richard Tinsley, an engineer at Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital (HMFW), received a special gift: a second chance at life. How? The knowledge and training of three HMFW security officers, who initially administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and used an automatic external defibrillator (AED) to shock his heart, saved Tinsley from ventricular fibrillation, a condition referred to as “sudden cardiac death” by the American Heart Association. The life saving measures that the security officers took to save Tinsley make them Harris Heroes, and recipients of the 2005 Security Lifesavers Award at Harris.

A Saved Life
April 21, 2005, a normal workday for Richard Tinsley, took a sudden turn at lunch. He had just returned from purchasing a vegetable plate in the hospital cafeteria when he sat down at his desk in the engineering lock shop, and said, “I feel like I am going to pass out.” It's the last thing he remembers before waking up in the HMFW emergency room about five minutes later.

During these five minutes, life-saving measures were administered by Ted Allen, Steven Price and Brent Williams, security officers at HMFW as well as the HMFW Code Blue Team, which is the first responder to individual emergencies on campus.

Officers Allen, Price and Williams were first to arrive on the scene. Allen, who immediately checked Tinsley's pulse and heart rate, quickly realized that he was lifeless. Leading the initial medical charge, Officer Allen began CPR and instructed Price and Williams, both who are AED certified, to administer the AED defibrillator to Tinsley's chest. After shocking him twice, his heart began beating again, in a normal, regular rhythm.

After three minutes of CPR and AED defibrillation, the full Code Blue Team arrived to the lock shop to continue life-saving measures and ultimately rush Tinsley to the Emergency Room.

Defying the Odds
“You almost died today,” Wade McBride, M.D., a cardiologist on the HMFW medical staff told Tinsley as he woke up from this nightmare. Dr.McBride informed Tinsley that he had beaten the odds and survived a severe heart condition: ventricular fibrillation. “Less than 1 percent of people who suffer from ventricular fibrillation actually survive because they are not fortunate enough, like Richard, to have someone perform CPR and shock them with an AED defibrillator. The most critical part of his care was the first five life-saving minutes that the security officers participated in,” McBride said.

According to the American Heart Association, 250,000 Americans died of sudden cardiac arrest in 2004. As many as 50,000 of these deaths could be prevented if people like Allen, Price and Williams were trained and willing to perform CPR and use the AED defibrillator.

A Second Chance at Life
Today, Tinsley has a new perspective on what it means to have a second chance on life. He has returned to work in the engineering department at HMFW.

“I am forever grateful to the security officers and the Code Blue Team who revived my heart until I could get the immediate medical attention in the emergency room. You never know how precious life is until something like this happens to you,” said Tinsley, attempting to hold back his emotions.

On Wednesday, June 29, he will be attending a CPR and AED certification course at HMFW led by Officer Ted Allen, so he, too, can be a life-saving hero if the need ever arises.

About Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital
Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital, a Magnet designated hospital celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, is Tarrant County's largest and busiest hospital and regional referral center. A member of Texas Health Resources, HMFW is licensed for 610 beds and provides the following services: cardiovascular; neurosciences; orthopedics and sports medicine; rehabilitation; adult critical care and neonatal intensive care; high risk and routine obstetrics and gynecology; trauma and emergency medicine; cancer care; medical/surgical; kidney transplants; occupational health; and more. For more information, please call 1-888-4HARRIS, or visit

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