Dewaine started off on the Main Line as this was his first trip at this site. After 20 minutes of easy ski climbing, Dewaine began to experience an extreme pain in the middle of his chest and shortness of breath. At first he said he thought he might have slightly pulled a muscle. A heart attack did not enter his mind at first. He said he could not shake the pain and turned back towards the lodge.
During his descent, he passed several people. He did finally stop and ask help from a lone skier about two kilometers from the lodge. The person he stopped was Dr. Francis Reido, who like Dewaine, was an Assistant Scoutmaster. The doctor's medical kit included Nitro tablets.
Several of the doctor's scouts' dads have had the need for Nitro tablets when they are on trips. Both Dewaine's and the doctor's cell phones worked on the back side of 4,000 foot plus Steven Pass. When the 9-1-1 call was received at the Mountain Ski Patrol Center the training officer was the one who gathered up the equipment and jumped into the pickup to head to the Nordic Center.
Another Ski Patroller gathered the master keys for the Nordic Center, the snowmobiles and bolt cutters in case the locks were frozen. They were all a bit surprised that there were that many people around that morning and all of the radios were working. Another person grabbed the new AED paddle system and headed to the base lodge.
All got to the Nordic Center, which is six miles down the other side of the mountain from the main lodge, at about the same time. They found that all of the locks opened quickly and none were frozen. They were unable to start the big snowmobile, but the smaller machine started on the second pull. They loaded the stuff on the work sled and headed up the trail. As they got close to Dr. Reido, they saw that he was already applying CPR.
The Ski Patrol had just completed training on the new AED system within the last two weeks. They set up the AED, shocked Dewaine and he jumped and his heart started right up. The team had a hard time keeping Dewaine's heart going and they had to shock him another five times before they got him to the base lodge.
The ski patrol joked that Dewaine is no small guy (250 lbs.). They had a hard time getting him on the backboard and then on to the work sled. His weight was more than the small sled could pull. So the ski patrollers, the doctor and others who had stopped by, had to push the snowmobile to get the combined unit moving. It took a Herculean effort to even get the sled moving and as it picked up speed first the driver jumped on, next Dr. Reido jumped on continuing CPR, lastly a ski patroller jumped on to continue bagging Dewaine. Soon the machine had enough speed to make its run of two kilometers downhill to the base lodge.
At the base lodge the Medics were waiting. Dewaine had to be shocked again before heading to the Helipad six-miles back up the mountain. The Life Flight from Seattle had only a 20-minute window to make its evacuation at the mountain before the snow closed the mountain out. They made it in on time, but had to shock Dewaine again to get him going, and were off prior to snowfall.
When Dewaine arrived at the hospital, circumstances continued to see him move in and out of life. During the afternoon he was defibrillated three more time with a total of 20 shocks over that time period. It was decided to implant a heart stent and temporary pacemaker, versus cracking open the thoracic cavity. (Dewaine is very happy with this move. If they had opened up his chest he would still be in the hospital with a long recovery time.)
Dewaine has many more miles to go before he is fully back on his feet. Timing is everything in life. The right people with the correct resources will win out on most occasions.