Medics resuscitate L.A. Marathon runner who went into cardiac arrest

The 61-year-old man collapsed around mile 22; ALS medics on bikes shocked him with an AED and brought him to a waiting ambulance, where he regained a pulse


By Brenda Gazzar
Daily News

LOS ANGELES — A 61-year-old male runner went into cardiac arrest at the 30th annual ASICS L.A. Marathon on Sunday and was taken to the hospital in critical condition while nearly three dozen others were taken to hospitals for ailments such as heat exhaustion and strains, authorities said.

With record temperatures that reached about 20 degrees higher than usual, 185 participants were treated for ailments and injuries, of which 36 were taken to local hospitals, said Erik Scott, spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department. Excluding the man who went into cardiac arrest, all of those were taken to hospitals in stable condition, Scott said.

The man went into cardiac arrest at about 11 a.m. on San Vicente Boulevard near Montana Avenue around Mile Marker 22, Scott said.

“We had emergency responders that were strategically placed throughout the route who came across the patient and rendered immediate medical aid and used an AED to defibrillate, or shock the patient,” Scott said by phone. “We’re in instant communication with firefighter/paramedics on bicycles who assisted with advanced life support, and brought the patient to a awaiting ambulance.”

The team worked on the patient, who regained his pulse and breathing before he arrived at the hospital. He continued to improve until he was conscious and talking, Scott said.

Sunday’s downtown high of 92 degrees occurred at about 12:46 p.m., up from the previous record of 85 degrees in 1978, said Scott Sukup, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. Santa Monica Airport reached a high of 90 degrees at noon, he said.

Despite the higher-than-usual temperatures, more than 26,000 runners were energetic yet focused before they left the starting line of the Los Angeles Marathon at Dodger Stadium on Sunday morning.

“I’m being wary,” said David Wiggins, 35, of Los Angeles, who was running his first marathon. “I’m listening to all the advice, drinking a lot of water in the last day or two. I’m thinking (I will go) a little slower. Hopefully I will be done by the time it gets too hot.”

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti addressed the crowd of runners before the elite women started.

“For all of you who are here for first time, congratulations for getting out here,” Garcetti said. “Twenty-something years ago I ran my first marathon and it changed my life.”

Several runners said the heat wasn’t as bad as they had feared, particularly because it was cloudy much of the morning and a slight breeze could be felt at times.

“The forecast was really terrible so there a lot of people giving you water in the street, firefighters spraying you with water” and even neighbors handing out bananas and oranges, said Tomas Pacheco, 32, a UCLA graduate student who ran his first marathon Sunday. “But actually, it was kind of cloudy. It was not a clear sky — so that helps a lot.”

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©2015 the Daily News (Los Angeles)

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