(Pictured from left: Morgan Bush, Joseph foxx, Rick Goff, Barbara Gibson, Erin Finney)
On the morning of October 19, 2016, YMCA of greater Birmingham member Rick Goff went into cardiac arrest while swimming at the Mountain Brook YMCA. A husband, father, grandfather and friend to many, Rick was also a distinguished collegiate swimmer who performed in the 1972 Olympic Trials in the 100 Yard Butterfly. Many who heard of the accident could not believe that this could happen to such an active person.
Although they are properly trained and equipped, many lifeguards will never be called to perform life saving duties. Joseph Foxx, YMCA Lifeguard, is an exception to that rule. He was the very first responder on the scene, and because of his quick actions, Rick Goff is alive today.
At the time of the event, Joseph quickly noticed that Rick was struggling to breathe and unable to swim. He immediately called out asking if he was okay, and when Rick responded that something was wrong, Joseph took action. He jumped in the pool and was able to lift Rick out and onto the pavement so that CPR could be performed.
When Erin Finney, YMCA Tennis Desk Attendant, heard news of the event, she responded and brought the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to the scene. The use of the AED was a critical factor in Rick's survival, as it was used several times to revive life. Erin also assisted in providing CPR to Rick.
Barbara Gibson, YMCA Welcome Center Attendant who also works as a nurse at UAB, was called to the scene after Rick was pulled out of the pool. She also took turns in performing CPR for Rick.
Additionally, Y member Morgan Bush, also a Cardiac nurse at St. Vincent's East Hospital, was playing tennis that day at the Mountain Brook branch. She noticed the commotion at the pool and quickly responded to Rick by helping with CPR and the use of the AED device.
After a long 5 weeks in the hospital (3 of which were in the Intensive Care Unit while Rick battled an intense bout of pneumonia) and many physical therapy visits, Rick has made a full recovery. "It was such a blessing to have him home for our family Thanksgiving," said Shannon Goff Flanagan, Rick's daughter. "We are truly so thankful to this day."
YMCA of Greater Birmingham's Joseph Foxx, Erin Finney and Barbara Gibson have been awarded the First Responders of The Month Award from WVTM Channel 13, along with Morgan Bush and Ben Thompson, a firefighter and EMT from downtown Birmingham's Firestation 1. Joseph has also been recognized by the Birmingham Rotary Club with their annual Vocational Service Award for first responders who "demonstrate diligence and competence while administering lifesaving skills to another."
Rick and his family said they will never be able to fully thank the many first responders that served an integral part in saving his life. "I say 'Join the Y - and save your life!" said Rick.
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