Oskaloosa Man Thanks First Responders For A New Lease On Life

Jamie Brockman is loaded into the ambulance Christmas morning after EMS performed CPR for over 30 minutes. Overall, CPR was performed for 55 minutes, and his heart was shocked over 10 times. (still capture from Oskaloosa PD video)

Jamie Brockman is loaded into the ambulance Christmas morning after EMS performed CPR for over 30 minutes. Overall, CPR was performed for 55 minutes, and his heart was shocked over 10 times. (still capture from Oskaloosa PD video)

Oskaloosa, Iowa – For Jamie Brockman, returning home on Wednesday was something no one would have expected.

Early on Christmas morning, Brockman had returned home from spending Christmas eve with his sister and family out of town. He wasn’t feeling the best, and some heartburn had him feeling very uncomfortable.

Instead of spending the night at his sister’s house out of town, Brockman decided to make the hour and a half drive home.

Upon arrival at home, shortly after midnight Christmas morning, Brockman continued to battle heartburn and took some medication for it.

After getting sick, Brockman struggled to make it back to the living room of his home, making it to the easy chair. “I sat down in that chair and took two deep breaths and then I was gone,” said Brockman.

Video courtesy Oskaloosa Police Department

That’s the last Brockman remembers until waking up in Mercy hospital in Des Moines four days later.

What happened to the 43-year-old to save his life is nothing less than good luck, hard work and dedication to preserving a life by first responders.

After going unconscious, Brockman’s friend called 911 and pulled him out of his chair and put him on his back on the floor.

Mahaska County Sheriff’s Deputy David Wilke and Oskaloosa Police Officers Jordon Ammons and Gideon Kluge arrived on the scene at virtually the same time, just minutes after the 911 call.

Wilke entered the residence and found Brockman on the floor with no pulse, and with Ammons, cut Brockman’s shirt off and quickly began CPR.

Kluge prepared the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and prepared to shock Brockman, the first of his 11 shocks to the heart to happen over the next hour.

The patrol cars in Oskaloosa all carry an AED, donated to the department by CLOW Valve in Oskaloosa.

At approximately 1:10 am, Wilke, Ammons, and Kluge started CPR. “It was just a little before 2 am at the hospital when we stopped,” said Wilke.

Within three minutes of the officer’s arrival, paramedics from Mahaska Health Partnership arrived on the scene and began to assess the situation, taking advanced life-saving measures.

Officers assisted paramedics in setting up equipment, all the while maintaining quality chest compressions.

Brockman was injected with epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, and his heart was shocked nine more times during the hour.

For half an hour, life-saving efforts continued on Brockman’s living room floor, before loading him on the stretcher.

With the front door open to his home, paramedics and Wilke searched for a pulse, finding one.

They quickly got him loaded into the ambulance. After being loaded, Brockman’s pulse disappeared again.

They recovered his pulse and transported him to the hospital, where he once again lost his pulse.

Brockman’s friend remembers being told that they were going to shock his heart one more time, and if he didn’t respond they were going to call it.

Brockman’s heartbeat returned, and Mercy Two was called in to transport him to Des Moines.

After four days, Brockman awoke in the hospital to find friends and family by his side, happy to once again hear his voice.

On January 3rd, around 1 p.m., Brockman returned home to Oskaloosa.

Sitting at his kitchen table, Brockman holds up a diagram of his heart and shows where the blockage to his heart was at, which is often referred to as the ‘widowmaker’ in the medical profession.

Jamey Brockman at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. (submitted photo)

Jamey Brockman at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. (submitted photo)

“I was dead,” said Brockman looking in towards his living room. “I sat in the chair, and I died.”

Brockman is determined to thank the officers and paramedics who worked tirelessly to save his life. “I want to say thank you to them. I want people to know what they did.”

“They don’t do this so people like me will tell a story and make them heroes. There is no bigger hero to me than those five people right now.”

“They deserve a hero’s thank you, whether they want it or not,” added Brockman.

Brockman’s daughters Amber and Ashley brought their dad home and were sharing lunch with him.

They shared their thoughts about their father and the situation they awoke to on Christmas morning.

They were staying out of town at Brockman’s sister’s house, and they remember her taking the call early in the morning.

They found out their father had a heart attack and was being flown to Des Moines from Oskaloosa, and they were still in the Waterloo area.

Amber said that she had “started to cry, but not really because I was in shock.”

Brockman’s son Tyler who is 11 was hysterical when he found out about his father.

“The two hours from Waterloo to the hospital was pretty bad,” said Ashley. “We sat in the quiet.”

“We didn’t know about the details until about an hour after we got to the hospital,” added Ashley. “We didn’t know about the 55 minutes of CPR.”

Amber and Ashley were there and were in the position as next of kin. Being unsure if their father was going to make it, or if they would be put into a position to quit life-saving measures, Amber said, “It was terrifying.”

“Luckily we didn’t have to make that decision,” said Amber.

In that first hour of consciousness, Brockman was difficult to understand, say his daughters. What was definitely understood was when Brockman told his son, “I love you, buddy.”

“Tyler just lost it,” said Ashley. “He hadn’t really cried since he found out about dad that first day. Nothing like this. Just everything came out. He was crying and crying, and dad’s like, ‘we’re going to play basketball’. Then everybody was crying, because well, you know.”

Jamey Brockman at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. (submitted photo)

Brockman and his children while he was recovering at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines.

Amber said, “When he was first awake and talking, everybody was just so happy to even hear his voice.”

Brockman, who is a huge fan of helicopters, found out he took a ride in one and had no recollection of even being on one. Brockman looked right at his family and said, “what!” when he found out he had been flown to Des Moines in one.

Ashley said she was incredibly thankful for the work first responders performed to save her dad’s life. “When you think about how easy it would have been just to say, he’s been gone for 30 minutes, we going to call it right now.”

“If it weren’t for them, he wouldn’t be here,” added Ashley. “So I’m just very thankful. Very, very thankful.”

Brockman himself says he now has a different view of emergency personnel, “especially on the law enforcement side”, because you don’t think of them being a part of life-saving efforts during a medical call like his. “They didn’t have to do that. I know it’s easy for me to say they didn’t have to do that, and they think well, it’s our job.”

Brockman thinks they did go above and beyond, “and I think that’s a fortunate thing in a smaller community.”

“I have a much different opinion now,” said Brockman of law enforcement. “The next time I get a speeding ticket, I won’t argue. Thanks for saving my life, I appreciate it.”

“They are tremendous,” added Brockman.

The Mahaska County 911 Center and their dispatchers directed responders to Brockman’s residence, and helped to gather information before anyone even entered the property. Their effecient work help to make the difference early on.

Mahaska County Deputy Sheriff David Wilke has been a part of performing CPR a total of three times during his career. This is the first of those that had a completely positive outcome. “This one was a lot longer of CPR than I’ve ever done. There’s no way I could have done it all myself for that long.”

For 55 minutes, Wilke and the others worked on Brockman. That amount of time doing CPR is nearly unheard of.”We weren’t looking at watches. We were just doing it. Honestly, I couldn’t have told you that it was that long. We were just going, and we were just going to keep on going until they told us we had to stop. For all of us, that’s just how we were.”

Brockman and his family are calling Wilkie a hero, but he says he’s the “same person I was before. I don’t do this job for the thanks, or even to be liked, because we’re not liked by a lot of people, and I know it. I do it because I love the job.”

Wilke added that he loves working with the people that he does, and would do anything for them, and “I love the community. That’s why I do what I do. It’s not to be thanked or feel like a hero or anything like that. It’s just one of those rare things that we were in the right spot at the right time, and we were able to save this guy’s life. I’m not saying it was anything special we did, other than evidently not giving up, and that’s pretty much what we did; we didn’t give up until they finally got a heartbeat back in the hospital.”

Looking back on that Christmas morning and his efforts with other responders, “It’s one of those good feelings. You get a good feeling from it. I do thinking about it now.”

Mahaska Health Partnership Paramedic Rob Forschler said that high-quality chest compressions and early defibrillation with the use of an AED helped to bring about a positive outcome.

Forschler and his fellow first responders in the county have worked many calls before, and have the experience to know what each other will do and is expected.

The excitement for them was when they got a pulse back.

That excitement was evident in fellow paramedic Shannon Ward’s voice when they were able to detect a pulse in Brockman. “It’s kind of an overwhelming feeling when we get a pulse back from somebody.”

“For it being on Christmas, that was definitely an overwhelming day for a lot of us,” added Ward. Brockman wasn’t her only save that day; she had a positive impact on another family as well.

Anyone that’s met Oskaloosa Police Officer Gideon Kluge probably knows that he is very physically fit.

It’s Kluge’s body camera that recorded the events as they happened in Brockman’s living room. Kluge described chest compressions “as really tiring. Your arms want to give out, and you don’t realize what 30 seconds or a minute can do, and then all of a sudden it kind of hits you like a brick wall.”

This was the first time both Kluge and Ammons performed CPR in the field since they started with the Oskaloosa Police Department over a year ago.

The success they had on Christmas morning will, unfortunately, be something rare, and Kluge said that you ” always have to know that people are going to die.” You have to learn how to move past that and move on to the next call.

“In this profession, you have to almost expect the worst and hope for the best,” added Kluge.

Like many first responders, Oskaloosa Police Officer Jordon Ammons isn’t doing his job to be put into the spotlight, but admits that getting a save is a good feeling.

Ammons said that chest compressions were very tiring, but with good communication on the scene, they were able to rotate out with each other to keep quality chest compressions ongoing.

When a pulse was discovered, Ammons said it was a kind of serene feeling and that the efforts had paid off, and that a negative situation was going to turn into a positive.

Ammons said that there is the cliché answer as to why many join law enforcement, that they want to help people. “That’s truly why I got in the profession. I wanted to make a difference and help.”

For first responders, determining when to stop life-saving efforts is based on different factors, such as if the cardiac arrest was observed, age, early chest compressions, and defibrillation. “If the time frame had been different, if they had arrived five minutes later, he [Brockman] wouldn’t be sitting here today,” added Forschler, who credits law enforcement for their quick response.

When done working on Brockman, the three officers went back to their duties and finished their shifts, not unlike any other night for them.

Wilke – “it’s just a good feeling. Maybe down the road, I can tell my kids how I was able to save a guy’s life.”

Forschler wanted to remind the public to “go and get CPR certified and to know what to do if somebody goes into cardiac arrest.” Mahaska County Emergency Management offers CPR classes for those that are interested.

Making better choices for healthy living is something Brockman is determined to do. “There are three people here that basically watched their dad die, and now I have them back, and I’m not quite ready to give that up.”

“Call 911,” emphasized Brockman. “It’s what it’s there for.”

“The rest I haven’t quite figured out yet,” said Brockman of his new lease on life. “There’s obviously something I’m meant to do yet. I don’t know what.”



Posted by on Jan 5 2018. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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