Monday, June 6, 2016

Saving the Life of Someone You Love

Eric Myers(r) presents Red Cross Life Saver Award
to David McConkie (c) and shakes hands with Wyn
McConkie. Photo by Lorin Schroeder
by Samantha Baker

Over 11,800 individuals were trained to use CPR and First Aid in Western Colorado in 2015. It isn’t often that someone has to use these skills and even rarer that they are used on someone they know and love. The American Red Cross recognizes individuals who save lives using the training they received from the Red Cross. In the past, lifeguards, oil and gas industry workers, gym members and other everyday citizens have been awarded the American Red Cross Lifesaver Award. It is a recognition that is not given out often.

On March 26, 2016, Wyn McConkie suffers from severe migraines and decided to rest. She told her husband, David, to check on her in a while. When David went to check on his wife he found her unresponsive and not breathing. As a certified American Red Cross CPR instructor Mr. McConkie has trained hundreds to save lives over the last decade but until that day had never had to use his skills. His training kicked in as he began the rescue response process: Check, Call, Care. He called 911 and while his daughter Hailey held the phone he began chest compressions and rescue breaths. The Lower Valley Fire Department arrived after about five minutes and took over  the rescue. It wasn’t until he had no more control over his wife’s situation that Mr. McConkie began to experience the emotional trauma caused by watching a loved one come so close to death.

Mr. McConkie realized that the classes he teaches don’t really prepare you for the emotional effects after the incident. Executive Director of the Western Colorado chapter Eric Myers said the “training is focused on what to do when the time comes.” The training gives an individual the knowledge that they can act without hesitation should the need arise. Myers said, “It is better to do something than nothing.”

It is with this understanding that the McConkies have prepared their children to deal with similar situations in case of an emergency. David McConkie believes that every household should have at least one person who is trained. Their youngest child asked if the person performing CPR got tired if someone else could help them, something even Wyn McConkie didn’t know at the time. The answer is yes! Someone can always step in and assist.

Looking back months later, the family expressed it was still hard to think about what happened. On June 1, 2016, David McConkie was awarded the American Red Cross Lifesaver Award in a small ceremony that his wife and two children attended. McConkie said his actions were “not something you feel like you deserve an award for.” He was honored to be recognized but also expressed his gratitude to the 911 operator, Lower Valley Fire Department, his wife, St. Mary’s trauma unit and the Red Cross for its training.

After saving his wife, David McConkie said, “If you haven’t been trained in CPR get with your Red Cross and take a class, instructors are great and you never know when you are going to need it or who you are going to use it on. It’s a tool you’ll always have with you.”

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