Contractors credited with saving life of coworker
When Phillip Worley, a member of their construction crew, went into cardiac arrest on the jobsite at Arnold Air Force Base, Robert Hart and Vincent “Red” Halligan did not hesitate.
The two contactors, both of whom are with Morsey Constructors, acted quickly and administered CPR to their unconscious co-worker.
Emergency responders at Arnold are crediting Hart and Halligan with saving the life of their fellow crewmember, and their efforts have also been recognized at the highest level. Both were recently presented with certificates of appreciation from U.S. Air Force Fire and Emergency Services Fire Chief Jeffrey Wagner.
“The exceptional care you provided directly contributed to the saving of the life of this patient,” the certificates read. “This certificate is presented with our appreciation and gratitude for a job well done.”
An emergency situation
Worley says he would not be here today if it were not for “my father in heaven.” And, he calls his survival a “gift from God.”
“When I think back to that day, it started as any other,” explained Worley. “We never think when we leave home we might not ever come back.”
According to Worley, June 19 began with him arriving at work and pulling his work boots on.
“The next thing I remember, I woke up in an ambulance on my way to a hospital,” said Worley. “I remember someone telling me that I had a heart attack and to try to be still. My first thought was ‘No, it can’t be me, I’m at work.’ I then realized it was me.”
Ashley Koepp, the Morsey Constructors crew superintendent, and Hart, the general foreman of the job, were going over construction drawings just before the start of their workday on that June 19, at Arnold when their attention was diverted.
A member of their crew tore his truck through the gravel parking lot in front of the Conex storage container doubling as Koepp’s office. Hart and Koepp exited the office to admonish the employee, but the situation they encountered was far more serious than what they initially perceived to be erratic driving.
The worker in the truck was actually rushing to Koepp’s office to alert him to an emergency on the worksite. Another member of the crew was lying in the gravel lot outside of the test facility where the contractors had been working. The man was unconscious and not breathing.
Koepp called 911 while Hart jumped in to assess his co-worker’s condition.
“To be completely honest, that’s the point when God took over,” Hart said.
Hart began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Seeing that he was surrounded by “four sets of boots,” Hart asked if one of his crew members could deliver chest compressions. Halligan immediately responded.
Hart, who received CPR training in 1997, monitored his co-worker’s vital signs while Halligan, who is up-to-date on his first-aid CPR training, supplied constant and consistent compressions.
“Red worked his butt off with the chest compressions,” Hart said. “I mean, he worked his butt off.”
For a moment, it appeared the efforts of Hart and Halligan had paid off. Their co-worker responded with a weak pulse and by attempting to breathe. Hart encouraged him to fight and regain consciousness, but the man again stopped breathing. This occurred several times as Hart and Halligan delivered CPR.
“He died three times while we were doing CPR on him,” Hart said.
Still, Hart and Halligan continued CPR. Within moments, Arnold Fire and Emergency Services arrived on the scene.
“The timing was excellent,” Hart said. “You can tell they’re trained. They know what they’re doing.”
Emergency responders defibrillated the patient and loaded him into an ambulance for transport to a local hospital. Arnold FES Assistant Chief Gary Horn said Hart and Halligan continued CPR on their co-worker up until he was shocked and loaded onto the gurney. Horn described their techniques as “perfect CPR;” Hart provided excellent ventilation while Halligan’s chest compressions were performed at the ideal rate and depth.
Once Worley arrived at the hospital, doctors discovered an artery that was 90 percent blocked. He was sent to Vanderbilt Hospital where he underwent a triple bypass for three complete blockages.
Going forward in gratitude
“Thank you Robert and Red for you did for me. I will always be grateful for the CPR that saved my life. I have read some of the things that took place that day, but I did not realize I had died three times while they were doing CPR. Thank you for not giving up on me that day.”
In addition to Hart and Halligan, Worley says many others contributed to his return to health after his heart attack and surgeries.
Many churches prayed for Worley during his hospitalization. He says he knows of churches in nine states that were praying for him at the time. He received numerous cards, calls, and flowers from friends and special visits from Brother John Potts and Terry Guess.
“I recently attended church at Sweeton Hill,” says Worley. “While there, Sister Ruth Bryant told me she had been praying for me and she had place my name at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.”
He is grateful for family members who stayed by his side during his recovery including his wife Sue; children Tara, Justin, Phillip, and Jodie; sisters Sandra and Linda; and his brother Bobby.
“The doctor told us only three percent of people survive what happened to me,” said Worley. “All I can say is god has been better than good to me.”