CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
The state Department of Transportation's Airports Division honored airport employees yesterday for reviving a co-worker with a defibrillator and CPR on July 17. Pictured are Airports Division employees Curtis Lau, left, Clayton Takemoto, Mark Carvalho, Scott Dandurant, Haku Aki and Edwin Alejandro. CLICK FOR LARGE
Defibrillators save 2 lives
An Oregon man and a state worker are alive because of the devices
Portable defibrillators at Hawaii airports have saved two lives in the past 10 days.
On Tuesday, Portland, Ore., visitor Larry Ledwith was taking a morning walk with his wife near Maui's tiny Kapalua Airport when he collapsed and passed out.
"I just fell over," said Ledwith, 69.
An airport firefighter assisted by two Transportation Security Administration employees and a Wackenhut Security guard revived Ledwith with cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the airport's one automated external defibrillator.
Ledwith said he came to in the back of an ambulance and was told he had a heart attack.
"The state of Hawaii providing that defibrillator saved my life," he said from his hospital room at the Queen's Medical Center.
Ledwith said he has had an internal defibrillator and stent installed at Queen's and expects to be discharged tomorrow.
A week earlier, on July 17, David Delaforce, 57, a Honolulu Airport worker with the state Department of Transportation, was having lunch at a parking lot across from Keehi Lagoon Beach Park when he collapsed.
"I asked him, 'Hey, you OK?'" said co-worker Edwin Alejandro. "He never respond so I felt for his pulse. There was a pulse and breathing, but I figured he needed breathing room."
Alejandro called for emergency assistance and got a swift response from his supervisor, Curtis Lau, and a co-worker, Charles McAllister III, who was having lunch at nearby Byron's Drive Inn.
They began chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
At one point, McAllister realized his compressions had broken a bone in Delaforce's chest, but he continued in accordance with his CPR training.
"I thought, 'Sorry, brah, it's gonna hurt, but wake up and I going stop,'" McAllister said.
At another point, Delaforce coughed and appeared revived, but his breaths grew short again, so McAllister and Lau resumed their emergency efforts until firefighters from the airport arrived and applied a defibrillator.
McAllister said he later learned that Delaforce's heart stopped nine times in the ambulance and at Tripler Army Medical Center, and each time a defibrillator started his heart back up.
There are 100 defibrillators at state airports on all islands, nearly all installed six months ago. Before January there were two.