Musician resuscitated with CPR at Dartmouth Idol Finals

by Mika Jehoon Lee | 4/28/17 2:15am

During a technical sound check before the opening of the 2017 Dartmouth Idol Finals on March 3, musician Glendon Ingalls suddenly collapsed before seizing and falling unconscious.

Ingalls was a trumpet player in the 20-member band, led by Dartmouth Gospel Choir director Walt Cunningham, that was to perform during the Finals. After Ingalls fell unconscious at 7:15 p.m., members of the cast and crew reacted immediately, according to Josh Merriam, a fire captain and advanced emergency medical technician who responded to the emergency. Hopkins’ Center master technician Kevin Malenda and Dartmouth Idol vocal coach Nathaniel Graves ’13 checked Ingalls’ pulse and confirmed that his heart had stopped beating.

Background singer and performer Nikhil Arora ’16 retrieved an automatic external defibrillator, which is a portable electronic device that checks for an irregular heart rhythm and sends an electric shock to the person’s heart to resume regular beating. Malenda applied the AED pads, and Graves pressed the shock button. They then administered AED-assisted CPR, which restarted Ingalls’ heart. Hop senior production manager Keely Ayres coordinated the CPR response. An EMT team arrived and took Ingalls out of the building at 7:45 p.m to transport him to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Ingalls was later diagnosed with a heart condition related to the blockage of his arteries, he said. He had been treated for high blood pressure previously but was unaware of his heart condition. He underwent regular medical checkups after his hip replacement surgery seven months ago and had been given a clean bill of health in terms of his heart, he added.

On Monday afternoon, DHMC and the Hanover Fire Department held a ceremony to recognize cast and crew members of the 2017 Dartmouth Idol Finals whose resuscitation efforts saved Ingalls’ life. At the ceremony, Merriam presented the Lifesaving Award on behalf of DHMC and the Fire Department to Ayres, Malenda, Graves and Arora. Arora, who currently works in San Francisco,California, was not able to attend the ceremony. According to the award certificate, the Lifesaving Award is given to individuals whose quick thinking, courage and extraordinary personal action have saved a human life. In addition to the Lifesaving Award, Merriam presented a plaque to the Hop for its commitment to emergency medical services.

At the ceremony, DHMC emergency medical director and Geisel School of Medicine professor Thomas Trimarco said patients in sudden cardiac arrest like Ingalls usually have less than a 10 percent chance of surviving and over a 90 percent chance of incurring permanent brain damage. Trimarco added that he hopes this incident will shed light on the importance of CPR and AED training.

Merriam said bystanders need to be actively involved in emergency medical incidents, as they were in this case.

Graves, who won Dartmouth Idol in 2013, and 2016 runner-up Arora were at the competition because they had been invited to work with Cunningham for the competition’s 10th anniversary this year. Graves and Arora added that they had received CPR training as a lifeguard and as a First-Year Trip leader, respectively.

After the presentation of awards, Ingalls went up the stage and played “When the Saints Go Marching In” on his trumpet to express his gratitude toward his rescuers.

In an interview after the ceremony, Ingalls said some performance venues lack emergency medical resources due to high training and equipment costs. However, Ingalls said he has been raising awareness of the importance of CPR and AED training since the incident.

“One of the things I’ve been doing is telling people who operate those venues about my experience,” Ingalls said. “They just need to plan a little bit to make sure that the staff members get training.”

Ayres said the Hop brings an EMT from a local fire department to train its staff members in CPR and AED every two years. She added that it is paramount that everyone receives training in CPR and AED so that other lives like Ingalls’ can be saved.

“We feel really good that we don’t have to implement any new [programs or initiatives],” Ayres said. “What we are doing clearly works.”