NEW BRITAIN – Two New Britain High School graduates were awarded the Mayor’s Medal of Merit Wednesday evening for their quick action in saving a man’s life.
Chase Morales and Miguel Ortiz Jr., both 2014 graduates of New Britain High School, performed CPR on Craig Schmitt after he collapsed during a baseball game at Beehive Field last week. Schmitt, who previously worked with the CCSU Blue Devil’s coaching staff, was going into cardiac arrest. The two young men jumped into action and helped care for him before medical personnel was able to apply the AED defibrillator.
During a Common Council meeting Wednesday night, Mayor Erin Stewart took a moment to thank both Morales and Ortiz, as well as the New Britain EMS, recognizing that if it were not for the quick thinking and action from everyone, the outcome would have been very different. She presented the medals and certificates of recognition in honor of their bravery and heroic actions.
Mary Schmitt, Craig Schmitt’s wife, told the council that if it wasn’t for Morales and Ortiz’s quick action in doing the compressions, her husband would not be here today.
“I don’t know how you knew how to do it, but I think all the younger generation should know how to do this and I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” said Mary, who shared that her husband is now at home and recovering. “You saved his life. You did save his life.”
At the game, Schmitt was revived after one shock from the defibrillator, and it took about six minutes from the 911 call for the first responders to reach Schmitt. He was then carted away and transported to the hospital, according to New Britain head coach Roberto Mercado, as reported in the New Britain Herald on April 20.
New Britain Emergency Medical Services Chief Bruce Baxter was present at the council meeting and emphasized that the two young men were heroes and encouraged everyone to learn CPR.
Every year, roughly 350,000 people collapse while going about their day-to-day lives, he said. “Their heart stops functioning, and a lot of people don’t know what to do. They dial 911 but it takes time to get the information to the caller and turn around to dispatch and first responders.”
For every minute the patient waits for someone to take definitive action, the chances for EMS workers to successfully resuscitate the person drop 10%, said Baxter. “While our response times are benchmarked according to national statistics, if it wasn’t for the two young men, Craig Schmitt may not be home tonight resting. You’re all heroes and great ambassadors of what New Britain is all about and thank God that the outcome was wonderful.”