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Go-kart worker saves man’s life

Fire official awards Saugus man certificate for giving CPR at Racer’s Edge

Posted: July 29, 2009 9:59 p.m.
Updated: July 30, 2009 4:55 a.m.

From left, Racer's Edge Indoor Karting owner John Basso, employees Brett Shields, Garrett Brixon and April Price receive recognition from Battallion Chief Mike Carnes for aiding a customer who suffered cardiac arrest June 9 while racing on a track.

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The man crashed his go-kart into a barrier on a Canyon Country race track and slumped over, lifeless.

He wasn’t breathing and his heart had stopped beating.

It might have stayed that way if it weren’t for 21-year-old Racer’s Edge employee Brett Shields, firefighters said Wednesday.

Shields, a former Explorer for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, checked the man’s vital signs, pulled him out of the go-kart and administered CPR until paramedics arrived minutes later with a defibrillator.

The patient has since had major heart surgery and is expected to fully recover.

After the man’s heart attack, everyone responded perfectly firefighters said.

“It couldn’t have worked out better,” said Fire Capt. Greg Hitchcock.

Fire Department officials bestowed a certificate of commendation to Shields on Wednesday for his quick action in the June 6 incident.

If Shields hadn’t been there, “we probably wouldn’t have had the same outcome,” said fire Battalion Chief Mike Carnes.

“A lot of people don’t step up. And on a full (cardiac) arrest, the percentage of survivors are already incredibly low.”

Fire Department spokeswoman Stephanie English said she hopes the commendation raises awareness in the community about the importance of learning CPR — a technique that can buy a patient precious time before rescuers can arrive.

Shields, a Saugus native who also works as a city lifeguard, said he has job applications in with the Los Angeles County and city fire departments.

Asked if he hoped the certificate might help his chances for the high-demand job, he laughed.

“I hope so,” he said, smiling.

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