When a person suffers from a sudden cardiac arrest, first responders know that bystander reactions are the key initial link in the chain of survival and recovery.
When Danville resident Hadi Esfahani suffered a cardiac arrest while playing soccer with friends at the East Bay Sports Indoor Soccer Center in San Ramon, it was the quick-thinking response of a number of bystanders and the first responders that proved to be that vital link.
“The quick actions of these citizen-heroes contributed to saving the life of Danville resident Hadi Esfahani at the East Bay Sports Indoor Soccer Center in San Ramon,” San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District officials said in a statement.
During the SRVFPD Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday, fire officials recognized citizen-heroes Farshad Khodayari, Max Saiidnia, Amir Kazemi and Dr. Omar Basharmal as well as SRVFPD first responders, Capt. Clinton Pruett, engineer Tracy Tidd, firefighters Gary Stephen, Liam Clauzel and Albert Glancy, for their life-saving efforts and retold the story of Esfahani’s heart episode.
“Our heroes’ instinctive actions bridged the gap of invaluable time between the sudden cardiac arrest and the arrival of San Ramon Valley Fire District first responders, who then provided advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) intervention,” fire officials said.
While playing his regularly scheduled indoor soccer game on Nov. 26 -- a tradition Esfahani has done with his friends for more than 20 years -- Esfahani experienced a sudden cardiac arrest, rendering him pulseless and non-breathing.
In a seamless sequence of events, fire officials say Saiidnia was the first to act and called attention to Esfahani collapsing after having kicked the soccer ball into play.
“He alerted other team members who all reacted without hesitation. The group rallied to Mr. Esfahani’s side, and their initial assessment found that he did not have a pulse and was not breathing,” fire officials said.
Keeping a clear head, Khodayari ran to retrieve a cellphone in order to call 9-1-1, while Saiidnia and Kazemi immediately began CPR efforts, with Saiidnia providing breathing via mouth-to-mouth, while Kazemi began delivering chest compressions.
After hearing the trouble while playing on an adjoining soccer field, Dr. Basharmal ran over and provided a calming source of direction to the group, later assuming responsibility for providing chest compressions.
While the group was doing everything they could to stabilize Esfahani, SRVFPD engine 38 and paramedic unit 38 were en route and arrived within four minutes of being dispatched.
Upon arrival at the soccer field, the five firefighters -- all of whom are state licensed paramedics -- quickly made their way to Esfahani’s side, assuming responsibility and utilizing their advanced cardiac life support skills and equipment.
After delivering 360 joules of electricity via a sophisticated cardiac monitor/defibrillator, paramedics transported Esfahani to San Ramon Regional Medical Center where doctors were able to treat him with life saving efforts. Fire officials said that the total elapsed time from their arrival on the scene to their delivery in the emergency room took 16 minutes.
“Within days of this event, Mr. Esfahani was released from the hospital minus any deficit. He returned home to his wife of 29 years, Zhila, and their two sons Sam and Soren. Mr. Esfahani has since returned to his job as a construction engineer and is now a strong advocate for having everyone attend a CPR course,” fire officials said.
Also in attendance at the meeting were six former SRVFPD patients, all of whom had experienced a cardiac arrest and survived thanks to quick action.
The SRVFPD offers CPR and AED training courses online, combined with hands-on skills practice session and skills tests. Residents who successfully complete the course will receive an AHA Heartsaver CPR/AED course completion card, valid for two years.
The eLearning online course fee is $40. Residents can register and pay at the SRVFPD administration office, located at 1500 Bollinger Canyon Road, San Ramon.
Interested residents can also sign up for Red Cross First Aid Training which offers courses throughout the country, including Concord and Livermore.