Paramedic gifts AED to Lowe's after father suffers cardiac arrest
Mark Greczkowski presented an AED to Lowe's after his father, who works at the store, went into cardiac arrest while on the job
By John Barry
LISBON, Conn. — One day last September, Lowe's worker Chuck Greczkowski collapsed as he was punching out for lunch. His heart stopped and he stopped breathing.
Coworker Floyd Flint reacted quickly. As the 71-year-old Greczkowski lay on the floor, Flint administered CPR and was rewarded when Greczkowski took a gasping breath. A second coworker, Becky Newman, who is an emergency medical technician with Lisbon Fire Department and ambulance, assisted Flint, and the Lisbon ambulance rushed Greczkowski to the hospital.
Eight months later, Greczkowski has made a full recovery. On Tuesday, his grateful son, Mark Greczkowski, who is a paramedic, presented a gift that will help save lives if a similar incident happens at the store.
"It's a pretty miraculous story," Mark Greczkowski said.
Greczkowski, who has his own emergency medical instruction firm called G-Tact LLC, said only about 4 percent of people who go into cardiac arrest are revived using only hand CPR. With the new equipment, "the chance of success would be higher," he said.
He presented an automatic external defibrillator, which is a device that sends an electric shock to a heart to get it restarted, donated by ZOLL Medical Corp. American Ambulance in Norwich, where Mark Greczkowski worked as director of operations, donated a first aid bag, and Greczkowski has volunteered to train Lowe's employees on how to use the equipment.
"It took from September last year to now to come to fruition," American Ambulance Vice President Greg Allard said.
"Thank you so much. Hopefully, we'll never have to use it," Lowe's manager Nick Long said. He said the initial training, which will be voluntary, would consist of about a dozen members of the store's leadership team, and then expand to other workers.
"I was working, got ready to go to lunch. That was it," Chuck Greczkowski said. "I don't remember anything until I woke up in the hospital."
"I happened to be over where Chuck was," Flint said. "Chuck goes face first into the pavement. I'll be extremely honest. I was scared."
He said he flipped Greczkowski onto his back and, although he had no training, only watched a video demonstration once, "I started doing CPR, what I thought was CPR."
Two minutes passed before Greczkowski made a gasp, Flint said.
"I actually broke down in tears," he said. "It was the most traumatic thing in my life. I wasn't sure I was doing anything right."
Newman said she was coming back from lunch when she saw the two men and rushed to check Greczkowski. "At that point, his pulse was back," she said. "Floyd did everything perfectly."
She said she joined the Lisbon Fire Department to help her community. "I always loved helping people," Newman said. "There's no better way to do that."
Mark Greczkowski said the incident shows the importance of acting in an emergency, even if a person is untrained. "The worst thing you can do is nothing," he said.
Ellie Greczkowski said her husband did not go into cardiac arrest. Instead, doctors said a low sodium level sent a signal that stopped his heart.
"I have since now got a great friend," Flint said. "I feel a closeness to him. It's something that's invaluable. It will be part of my life forever."
Copyright 2018 Norwich Bulletin