Mount Prospect firefighters reunite with teen they saved
Jadale Mitchell has a standing invitation from Mount Prospect firefighters to stop by the station. Firefighters even offered the irresistible enticement of station house cooking to encourage the 13-year-old to drop by.
Jadale, an eighth-grader at Holmes Junior High, first met the firefighters under very different circumstances in September. That's when the teen who lives with a genetic mutation in his heart suffered cardiac arrest shortly after arriving home from school, and his friends and first responders teamed to save his life.
"I was playing with my friends, and my heart stopped," Jadale said, recalling the Sept. 26 episode as he and firefighters reunited Tuesday night at Mount Prospect village hall.
Friend Austin Johnson called 911 and performed CPR until first responders arrived and continued working on him.
In all, it took seven minutes to revive Jadale.
He was airlifted to Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, where he underwent surgery involving cutting a nerve to reduce the flow of adrenaline. He spent the next three weeks in the hospital recovering, some of it in an induced coma.
Now showing no signs of impairment, Jadale appeared before the village board Tuesday to thank the first responders who helped save him and watch as five firefighters were honored for their actions.
Lt. Mike Ghawaly and firefighter/paramedics Scott Slaasted, Phil Ellenbecker, Craig Rodewald and Jon Schram received the Zoll Clinical Save Award for their efforts.
The award was given by Mount Prospect Fire Department EMS coordinator Susan Bagdade, as well as Caroline Guibord, of Zoll, which makes the cardiac monitors used by the fire department.
"They are five of over 200 first responders that make a positive impact on this community every day," Deputy Fire Chief John Dolan said.
Dolan also lauded the actions of Jadale's friend Austin, who was unable to attend the ceremony.
"It's just another example of the importance of early intervention in cases of cardiac arrest," Dolan said.
Bagdade said when first responders arrived, Jadale was unresponsive and not breathing, and his heart was not beating.
"When all was said and done, a life was saved and a family was brought together," she said.
Firefighters took a vested interest in Jadale's recovery, calling Bagdade and emailing her multiple times to follow up on his progress.
Jadale, who has some follow-up medical appointments ahead, hopes eventually to get him back to normal activities, including playing sports.
After the award ceremony, Jadale and his parents, Chris and Melissa Mitchell, met with the firefighters in the hallway. They told the teen, "You have no idea, seeing you, what it does for us."
His mother thanked the firefighters and left a package of treats and a card for them.
"Because of you guys, he gets to celebrate his 14th birthday at the end of the month," Melissa Mitchell said.