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Deer Valley to the rescue

by Nan Chalat-Noaker, Record editor

Maybe it had something to do with the musical program — the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was about to take the amphitheater stage at Deer Valley on Aug. 15. But, more likely, one particular concert-goer owes his life to a pair of well trained members of the resort’s summer bike patrol.

According to Deer Valley Ski and Mountain Bike Patrol manager Steve Graff, at approximately 6:30 p.m. a guest was dropped off at the entrance to the concert. Like many couples, he and his wife split up — she to park the car and he to find a place to sit on the grassy hillside. But as he started up the hill, he collapsed.

Two bystanders determined that the man was not breathing and had no pulse as a concert worker dashed off to alert the first-aid tent. Elaine Hunter and Dave Henthorne leapt into action. They grabbed a trauma bag and one of Deer Valley’s nine Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs).

6:45, the man was hooked up to the AED, which lit up with the message: "Shock needed." According to Graff, a shock was administered at 6:46 and, by 6:47, the AED was detecting a near-normal heart rhythm.

"It was just the coolest thing. They brought him back to life," said Graff.

Graff credits Hunter and Henthorne’s commitment and training. Both have served on the resort’s ski patrol for four years and the summer bike patrol for three.

"Elaine is awesome. She is an avid skier, is conscientious and thorough," said Graff, adding that her teammate Henthorne, who once wanted to be a fireman, is totally dedicated to his work with the patrol.

By the time the ambulance arrived, the patient was stabilized and, miraculously, one week later he, his wife and his sister returned to Deer Valley to say thanks.

"He has been so gracious," said Graff. The man readily acknowledges that if the heart attack had occurred anywhere else he might not have survived.

According to Graff, everyone on the summer and winter patrols at Deer Valley is certified to use the AEDs. During the winter they are placed strategically around the mountain and, even though they are expensive, Graff says the resort never turns down his requests to buy more. "The fact that he collapsed within 50 yards from trained responders with the right equipment is what made the difference."

Editor’s note: Joe Dalto, the patient, emailed this quote to The Park Record on Friday: "Steve’s crew saved my life. I would do anything for them and I am glad they are recognized for the heroic work they do. Their speedy response prevented injury to my heart, my brain, and other vital organs. How much is a life saved worth? For me, my wife, and children it is priceless."


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