Elderly Man Meets First Responders Who Saved Him After Sudden Cardiac Arrest

 January 28, 2024

In a heartwarming event at American Medical Response (AMR) in New Haven, a significant reunion unfolded. Thomas Buchan, a Hamden man, met the first responders who saved his life in a dramatic incident last September. This meeting, full of gratitude and memories, represented more than just a thank-you; it was a testament to the critical role first responders play in our communities.

This reunion, held on Tuesday, marked a special moment for both Buchan and the first responders, bridging the gap between a life saved and those who saved it.

Thomas Buchan, 83, experienced a life-threatening medical emergency in September, which he barely remembers. His wife of 57 years, Heidi, vividly recalls the harrowing day. Buchan had stepped out of their house, feeling cold, and suddenly began convulsing and vomiting. This alarming situation prompted Heidi to immediately call for help, setting in motion a series of events that would ultimately save her husband's life.

A Race Against Time: The Crucial Response

The response to Buchan's emergency was swift and efficient. AMR and Hamden firefighters were quick to arrive at the scene, NBC Connecticut reported.

However, the situation took a drastic turn when Buchan went into sudden cardiac arrest, a critical condition requiring immediate and advanced life-saving measures.

Mike Turcio, a representative from AMR New Haven, highlighted the coordinated effort that ensued. "First responders from AMR, the town of Hamden, and New Britain EMS Academy immediately took advanced life-saving measures with CPR and defibrillation," he explained. This rapid response was crucial in keeping Buchan alive, as he later revealed that he was clinically dead for 11 minutes before being resuscitated.

For Buchan, the reunion was more than just a chance to express gratitude. It was an opportunity to connect with those who played a pivotal role in a moment of his life that he barely remembers. The meeting allowed him to put faces to the names and actions that had such a profound impact on his life.

Behind the Scenes of a Life-Saving Effort

Kayla Anseeuw, an EMT for AMR, was driving the ambulance on that fateful day. She reflected on the unique nature of her role as a first responder. "It’s amazing to hear his story because I don’t usually get to hear the background of my patients. I usually see them at the worst and then bring them to the hospital and hope for the best," she said. This sentiment underscores the often unseen and unrecognized efforts of first responders.

Buchan's path to recovery was long and challenging, involving a week-long coma and subsequent transfer to a rehabilitation center. It was there that he learned about Anseeuw, the EMT who had been instrumental in his survival. Recalling the moment, Buchan said, "The young lady, her name was Alex...she said, ‘I believe my best friend saved your life.’" This revelation led him to seek out a meeting with the first responders, particularly Anseeuw, whose photo he remembered because of her glasses.

The reunion was more than just a casual meeting; it turned into a full ceremony where the first responders were honored. A plaque commemorating Buchan's miraculous survival was also hung on AMR’s "Tomorrow Wall," symbolizing the precious lives saved by these everyday heroes.

Recognition and Reflection: A Moment of Gratitude

Anseeuw expressed her emotions during the ceremony. She felt a mix of pride and humility, acknowledging that the roles of EMTs and paramedics are often overshadowed by other medical professionals. "I got a little emotional little tear in my eye and I was like, 'this is kind of nice' as it’s not often," she shared. This moment served as a poignant reminder of the vital role that first responders play in the healthcare system.

Buchan's experience has not only given him a new lease on life but also reinforced his dedication to his community. As a pastor, he has been actively involved in feeding the homeless and helping those struggling with addiction. This incident has only strengthened his resolve to continue his work, with a deeper appreciation for the time he has been given.

"At 83 years old, you don’t have a whole lot of time left, and they gave me another bit of time in my life. We appreciate that and we are grateful and we don’t take it for granted," Buchan said, expressing his gratitude for the extra time granted to him by the swift actions of the first responders.

  • A Hamden man, Thomas Buchan, reunited with the first responders who saved his life in a ceremony at American Medical Response in New Haven.
  • Buchan suffered a sudden cardiac arrest last September and was resuscitated after being clinically dead for 11 minutes.
  • The first responders, including EMT Kayla Anseeuw, were honored at the ceremony, and a plaque commemorating Buchan's survival was placed on AMR's "Tomorrow Wall."
  • Anseeuw reflected on the often-overlooked role of EMTs and paramedics in the medical field.
  • Buchan, a pastor, plans to continue his community work, grateful for the additional time given to him by the first responders.

Most Recent Stories

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright 2024, Thin Line News LLC