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Family celebrates St. Patrick’s day rescue with EMS

March 14, 2024
By Staff Report


St. Patrick’s Day has a special significance for my family. Ten years ago, on that day, my family experienced a life-altering event at the Boca Grande Club. My father, heading out for a bike ride with my mother, collapsed in cardiac arrest outside his condo.

My dad Paul Csank is the toughest guy I know by far and may also be the luckiest. A number of things broke in his favor that day. The first was the incredible kindness and heroic actions of our neighbors that turned his moment of crisis into a miracle. Emily and Abby Wigdale, whose family had just moved into the Boca Grande Club, heard my mother’s distress cries and sprang into action. They called their father Blake to come help. Incredibly, Emily and Abby had recently completed a CPR course, equipping them with the knowledge to guide their dad through CPR, which he did until EMS arrived. John and Bette Cochran, who’d also come to help amidst the chaos, calmly helped maintain the rhythm of CPR by humming the Bee Gees tune “Staying Alive.” (They also comforted my mother and drove her to the hospital.) The quick responses of all these incredibly brave and kind neighbors, who made sure my father received immediate CPR until EMS arrived, undoubtedly saved his life.

When EMS arrived, they took over, restarting my father’s heart numerous times and initiating critical care. In another lucky twist of fate, they had just been trained on a new procedure involving chilled saline IV to help limit the inflammatory trauma response, which my father was the first to receive. It was a windy day. EMS had a hard time finding a helicopter pilot willing to risk it, but somewhere out there is a pilot who answered the call. The subsequent airlift to a hospital in Fort Myers marked the beginning of a journey that defied medical odds. The cardiologists at the Cleveland Clinic later confirmed the extraordinary nature of his recovery and said the odds of surviving what my father had were nearly zero. Even in a hospital setting, where trained personnel and life-saving machinery are immediately available, recoveries like his are rare.

Reflecting on the past decade, my family is filled with profound gratitude for the remarkable individuals who played a role in saving my father’s life. From our neighbors to the paramedics who responded with incredible skill, to the dedicated doctors and nurses, past and present, at the Boca Grande Health Clinic who have continued to oversee my father’s care, we owe a debt of gratitude that words can scarcely express.

Our family feels incredibly fortunate to be part of such a special community, where neighbors rally together in times of need, where EMS personnel exemplify unwavering dedication, and where healthcare professionals go above and beyond to ensure the welfare of their patients. This experience not only gave my father an additional ten-plus years of life but has also given our family a profound appreciation for the kindness and compassion of the people of Boca Grande.

As we mark this milestone anniversary, we extend our heartfelt thanks to all who were instrumental in this incredible journey of healing. March 17, 2014, was a day that showcased the incredible strength and compassion of the Boca Grande community, a day where neighbors became heroes, and when the strength of the community was evident.

The support and care we received on that day and the days that followed serve as a testament to the indomitable spirit of the Boca Grande community – a spirit that continues to inspire and uplift us each day.