IU Health recognizes Indy Airport employees who saved travelers’ lives

INDIANAPOLIS – IU Health recognized 22 Indianapolis Airport Authority employees recently for their heroic work in saving the lives of two travelers who suffered traumatic medical emergencies at the Indianapolis International Airport (IND) in 2022.

More than 8 million people from all over the world travel through the Indy airport each year, and the airport’s public safety team is ready to step in at any hour of the day to protect the well-being of passengers, employees and the airport terminal facilities.

On two separate occasions in 2022, that’s exactly what they did, coming to the aid of passengers experiencing serious medical emergencies. IND first responders were dispatched to the terminal in response to a patient with difficulty breathing and one that was unconscious. Thanks to a passerby and an Indy airport police officer, CPR was in-progress for both. On arrival, Indianapolis Airport Authority Fire Department paramedics and EMTs provided advanced life support care and resuscitated the patients. The patients were transported to IU Health West for further treatment, recovery and discharge to return home safely.

“These specific responses were the difference between life and death,” said Kurtiss McKissick, EMT and EMS liaison for IU Health’s Indianapolis Suburban Region. “It was an honor to recognize the crews involved in these incidents for their quick response, knowledge and skills that resulted in a life saved.”  

IU Health recognized the following Indy airport public safety team members for their “superior dedication, care, compassion and commitment in serving their patient”:

  • Dispatcher Heather Clodfelter 
  • Dispatcher Brent Freudenstein
  • Dispatcher Julia Pulliam
  • Firefighter/Paramedic Andrew Patton
  • Firefighter/EMT Derek Wilson
  • Lieutenant/EMT Kennitay Byrd
  • Firefighter/EMT Ed Taylor
  • Lieutenant/Paramedic Keith Schmidt
  • Firefighter/EMT Adam Rich
  • Dispatcher Lori Joseph
  • Dispatcher Cameron Collins
  • Dispatcher Cameron McAtee
  • Dispatcher Cory Wiggins
  • Dispatcher Christine Nevins
  • Police Sergeant Officer Mike Grimes
  • Division Chief/Paramedic Michael Hammond Sr.
  • Firefighter/EMT Jamar Kendrick
  • Deputy Chief/EMT Stephen Summers
  • Battalion Chief/EMT Travers Swardson
  • Lieutenant/EMT Jim Nungester
  • Firefighter/Paramedic Brandon Towns
  • Battalion Chief/EMT Brian Booth

The American Heart Association reports that only 30% of cardiac arrest patients survive upon arrival at the hospital. Conversely, the IAA’s public safety teams have consistently achieved a survival rate of over 60%, which significantly surpasses the national average.

“The success of the IAA’s public safety teams’ efforts is primarily attributed to their dedication to training, preparation, and having the appropriate equipment on hand, such as automatic defibrillators and an effective CPR program,” said Keith Berlen, IAA senior director of operations and public safety. “Many of the patients we revive go on to recover neurologically, a testament to the high-quality care provided by our teams.”

To learn more about joining the IND public safety team and other open opportunities with the Indy airport, visit IND.com/Careers.

Travelers can also learn and practice the lifesaving skill of hands-only CPR at American Heart Association kiosks located at the Indy airport in both Concourse A (near gate A18) and Concourse B (near gate B15). Since the first interactive kiosk was placed at IND in 2016, nearly 23,000 passengers have completed the brief training to learn Hands-Only CPR.