Anthony Toledo said he left a job with Florida Power and Light (FPL) “for good,” tired of burns and scorch marks on his hands resulting from foliage trimming around transmission lines.
Five years later, on Nov. 6, the West Miami tree trimmer lay unconscious on the ground in a Sunset Drive area of South Miami after accidentally touching a wire.
Luckily, a neighbor who saw the incident hurried to provide immediate CPR for what first-responding Fire-Rescue paramedics described as a “lifeless body without a pulse.”
“It looked hopeless,” Capt. Scott Tracy told a gathering on Jan. 20 at Kendall Regional Medical Center. It was a “celebration” of Toledo’s recovery from what later was termed a “near-electrocution.”
However, after 10 minutes that included shocking Toledo’s heart three times, “color started coming back and he basically came back to life,” Tracy said .
Immediate CPR rendered by the unidentified neighbor and efforts of the Fire-Rescue squad brought a faint pulse before Toledo’s arrival for 24-hour vigilance and body icing by Dr. Mark Cockburn and KRMC round-the-clock trauma teams. What worried Dr. Cockburn was the low neurological response — an indication that severe brain damage might have occurred.
“There was no movement — he didn’t open his eyes,” said Cockburn, who credited KRMC’s “cool ice protocol” and a catheter infusion of a saline solution allowing a gradual flow of blood supply to return circulation normally to Toledo’s body.
Within one week, the hospital team pronounced him in full recovery and he was released to resume a normal life, both as a father and grandfather.
What did he remember?
“Not a thing,” he grinned, displaying a special medal draped around his neck, emblematic of KRMC’s trauma expertise. “One moment I was trimming a tree, and the next thing I knew, I was lying in a hospital bed. I can’t thank everyone enough for being here today.”
Now, back on his trimming job and much more cautious, Toledo said, “I take extra precautions now making sure there’s nothing around.”
Emphasized Capt. Tracy: “Instant CPR was the key that contributed the most to restore Toledo. The first five minutes are especially critical to anyone suffering a heart attack or incident of this kind.
“Learn CPR. It only takes an hour,” he urged those in attendance. “You may save someone’s life some day.”