SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Medical training underway when medical emergency occurs


June 04, 2006

Ketchikan, Alaska - The Alaska Marine Highway System and Guardian Flight worked together to respond to a medical emergency aboard the M/V Matanuska while the ferry was transiting between Petersburg and Juneau last Wednesday.

Guardian Flight paramedic Jason Cerovac was aboard the Matanuska to provide "cardiac arrest" medical training to Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) crews when a passenger traveling on the same ship suffered a heart attack.

jpg patient prepared for airlift

Patient prepared for airlift
Photo courtesy Guardian Flight

Cerovac and the Matanuska Bartender Chelsea Ballinger immediately began early CPR, defibrillation and cardiac medications and the 77-year-old victim regained a pulse. Two other AMHS employees also assisted. The Matanuska Master, Capt. Larry Walters, radioed to the Coast Guard and a Jay-hawk helicopter airlifted the patient off the vessel and flew him to a hospital in Juneau.

"When the Coast Guard arrived, the patient, Guardian Flight paramedic Jason Cerovac, and equipment were hoisted to the helicopter" said Ed Fry, Station Manager and Outreach Program Director of Guardian's Ketchikan base. "The patient arrived to the Juneau Emergency Department twenty minutes later still with a beating heart."

jpg airlift

Jay-hawk helicopter airlifted the patient off the Matanuska
and flew him to a hospital in Juneau.
Photo courtesy Guardian Flight

The quick action of the AMHS crew and Cerovac allowed doctors in Juneau a chance of saving him. According to Guardian Flight, the patient later died at the hospital.

Cerovac was aboard the Matanuska as part of an agreement between the AMHS and Guardian Flight to provide recurring medical training to crew members and provide medical supplies to vessels.

"This incident really makes us thankful that we entered into our agreement with Guardian to give our crew medical training," said AMHS General Manager John Falvey. "Because of their training, our crew was able to quickly assess the situation and take appropriate action to give the patient the best possible chance for survival.


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Guardian Flight

Alaska Marine Highway System


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Ketchikan, Alaska