LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) personnel and members of the UCLA and USC medical staffs joined 2014 ASICS LA Marathon runner Jode Lebeda on Monday as he was reunited with firefighters, paramedics, doctors and nurses who cared for him after he collapsed during the race.
|LAFD Interim Fire Chief James Featherstone addresses the media |
at an April 21, 2014 press conference, where a man who collapsed in cardiac
arrest during the 2014 ASICS Los Angeles Marathon was reunited with rescuers.
He was admitted to the hospital’s Neurointensive Care Unit and over the next seven days, made a remarkable recovery. He has since returned to work and has resumed his normal daily activities.
"The sheer number of pieces that had to fall into place to enable me to survive is staggering to imagine," said Jode Lebeda. "Words cannot describe the gratitude I feel for the trained volunteers and LAFD members who reacted instantly to save my life. Additionally, the expert care I received from Dr. Vespa and the rest of the UCLA medical staff following the marathon has allowed me to be here physically, just as I was before the race." He added: "This experience has been one of those life-altering events that will forever change my perspective on all things. The importance of first-responders and human compassion in our society has never felt more real.”
LAFD Interim Chief James Featherstone commended the quick work of the medical personnel and the LAFD members assigned to the race that day, as well as the teamwork and coordination required to turn a potential tragedy into a joyful success.
"The amazing story of Jode’s sudden collapse and subsequent full recovery is not only a tribute to the strength of his spirit, but a testament to the effectiveness of the Chain of Survival in cases of sudden cardiac arrest," said Chief Featherstone. "It is always a pleasure to formally introduce an individual to the people who rescued him."
Dr. Paul Vespa, professor of neurology and neurosurgery and director of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center’s Neurointensive Care Unit, was the lead physician during Jode’s hospitalization. "When Jode remained in a coma, we suspected he was suffering from silent seizures, which are common after cardiac arrest, so we used brain monitoring to detect the seizures, and then treated him to protect his brain," said Dr. Vespa. "Our motto is 'To detect and protect,' and UCLA pioneered this type of brain monitoring, which is available only at specialized neurocritical care centers like ours."
Marathons are inherently complex events, with thousands of runners, spectators and volunteers lining the 26.2 mile course. The LAFD works closely with the ASICS LA Marathon organizers and allied public safety agencies to coordinate its medical coverage and response. In addition to providing life-saving treatment to Jode, the LAFD handled dozens of race-related incidents throughout the day.
Dr. Glenn Ault of Keck Medicine of USC is the ASICS LA Marathon Medical Director and was on hand to meet Jode and express his gratitude for a team effort to save him and assist all participants of the annual race.
"Keck Medicine of USC is proud to partner with the ASICS LA Marathon and the multiple jurisdictions providing medical care to ensure the health and safety of race participants,” said Dr. Ault. "Our medical volunteers, including physicians and nurses with expertise in emergency medicine, have assisted LA Marathon runners since 2012, and we’re glad we can be of help to them. In this case, the heroic efforts of many culminated in an incredible outcome for Mr. Lebeda, which we can all celebrate."
Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department