LANHAM, Md. – Maryland National Guard service members have been serving their community in many ways during the COVID-19 pandemic, from providing food to administering vaccines. On Feb. 18, Spcs. Patrick Sheil and Paul Hofe helped save a man’s life at a hospital.
“I think to be successful in that moment where life is on the line boils down to the training and experience that our noncommissioned officers and commanding officers put into us from their careers,” said Sheil. “So we were given the equipment and the training to be successful. We just had to apply it and step up as our number was finally called.”
Sheil and Hofe, members of the Maryland Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 175th Infantry Regiment, were assisting the nurses and doctors in the emergency room at Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center.
“At approximately 12:40 p.m., I witnessed one adult brought into the ER in respiratory distress,” said Sheil. “The emergency room doctor on duty was in the room trying to assess the patient and determine the course of action. At approximately 12:43, the patient became unresponsive and was determined to have lost his pulse. The doctor immediately declared a cardiac arrest and requested as much manpower support as available.”
Sheil and a nurse provided compressions as a team for the first 20 minutes. At the time, Hofe was moving a different patient from the ER to another location on the sixth floor.
“I sent a text message to Hofe and communicated the seriousness of the situation to come down to the room and provide assistance,” said Sheil. “He skipped the elevator, ran straight to the stairwell, and triple-timed down here.”
Hofe quickly joined Sheil with the compressions, allowing the nurse to rotate to other lifesaving interventions for the patient. For the next 40 minutes, the two provided compressions as a team.
“We did achieve a return of spontaneous circulation,” said Sheil. “So the patient’s heart began to beat on its own after several rounds of epinephrine injections, [sodium] bicarbonate injections, and other lifesaving interventions that were applied.”
CPR efforts ceased once the doctor determined the patient had a sustainable pulse.
The Soldiers credit their training for preparing them for the situation, including the combat lifesaver Course, tactical combat casualty care course and a CPR course.
The value of training the Soldiers received and their willingness to assist did not end at the hospital ER. The day after providing lifesaving CPR support, Hofe again found himself in a first responder role.
“On I-95, on the other side of the highway, there was a vehicle flipped over and the vehicle who had hit that vehicle,” said Hofe. “By the time I got there, the cops were there. I assisted in pulling the gentleman out of the vehicle, got him stabilized and put into the ambulance.”
Maryland National Guard service members use their military and civilian training when serving their community.
“It’s a great feeling to be filled with purpose,” said Hofe. “I joined the National Guard to help. You never know when the training that you’re taught is going to be needed. But when you’re in a position to be in charge or to do something, then you need to fill that role and you need to step up and do that.”