Speech to C Shift, Carlsbad Fire Department
Paramedics from Stations 2 & Firefighter/Paramedics from Station 4
By Robert Jensen
June 1, 2011
Hello. My name is Robert Jensen. I’m 53 years old. My wife’s name is Erin. We have two young children, Kaitlyn, and Connor. We live in Carlsbad, halfway between your fire houses.
I am alive, and speaking here today, because of all of you in this room. Because you, the members of the , did such a rapid and professional job, I am able to come here, with my wife and children, and thank you all from the bottom of my heart. You didn’t just save me; you saved an entire family.
Three months ago, on Monday, February 21, at 12:27 p.m., I collapsed from a sudden cardiac arrest in my kitchen. The event took place in full view of my wife, two kids and our nanny. I had passed a full cardiac exam within the past year, so this event was especially shocking and unforeseeable.
My wife Erin called 9-1-1 within 10 seconds of my collapse. 9-1-1 then sent out a dispatch to your teams. Then, 9-1-1 had Erin check my breathing, and start CPR as quickly as possible. Luckily, my wife and I had taken CPR training two years prior, so her skills quickly came back to her.
From the time I hit the floor, to the time you guys walked into my house, it was 7 minutes. While I’m quite certain this was the longest 7 minutes of my wife’s life, that seems kinda fast to me. By happenstance, we had a somewhat blurry “nanny-cam” operating in our kitchen at the time, so some of the following scenes were caught on video: My collapse. My wife calling 911. My wife giving CPR. Police arriving. Your fire department teams arriving. Your team using the defibrillator, and performing CPR. And, your team taking me away on a gurney. Folks, I’ve watched this video a few times. Everyone was working diligently, trying their best to save the life of a man they had never met before. The scene was terrifying to my wife, but it was riveting for me to see it, when I finally did so, a month later.
After I regained consciousness in the hospital, I was told how few survive what I went through. A few people came up to me and said things such as “God must have been looking out for you”, or that God was on “my side.” Well, I have no way of knowing if God was on my side. I’d like to think he was. The one thing I do know is this: my extraordinary wife Erin, who performed CPR on me was certainly on my side. And all of YOU---people who didn’t know me at all before February 21----were on my side as well. So many amazing people were on my side that day.
My life was saved because the system worked, and the system worked because everyone--- from my wife, to 911, to your team--- quickly did all the right things, in the right order, at the right time. And afterwards, my medical team at Scripps Encinitas did such an excellent job, that I am able to be here today, 3 months later, and spend this time with you.
Approximately 95% of those who experience sudden cardiac arrest die. That figure---95%---is a sobering number to consider. Believe me, I think about this statistic every day. You see, since Feb 21, I feel like I’ve just won the lottery. But, I didn’t just “survive.” I’m actually thriving. I’m even luckier than most, as my own doctors are predicting an eventual full recovery. In fact, I’ve improved so much, that I’ve just started driving again.
I’d like to take this moment to recognize some people, and give out some tokens of our appreciation:
Engine Captain Mark Berklite
Firefighter Mark Rufenacht
Firefighter Ben Rosenthal
Paramedic Glenn Miller
Paramedic Michael Roy
Battalion Chief Mike Davis
In closing I’d just like to say this: since this occurred, I’ve heard the word “miracle” tossed around quite a lot, even by some of my doctors. Well, to me, you guys are the miracle workers. The quality of your work, the speed at which you do it, and your determined, persevering attitude—all of this creates the special conditions where miracles can happen.
Because of the people in this room, my mother still has a son, my sisters still have a brother, my wife still has a husband, and my kids still have a Daddy.
You guys just never gave up on me. My family and I will never forget what you did for us. Thank you so much, and God Bless You all.