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Gwinnett Tech alum leads life-saving team

Special Photo: Firefighter and Gwinnett Tech alum Matt Caswell, far left, helped save the life of the man beside him in the photo: Stephen Rosenthal. Others involved in the rescue were, from left to right, Mark McManious, Joshua Kaman, Mark Rettenmeyer and Mitchell Poole. Members of the rescue team not pictured: James Cheatham, Jeremy Reifsnyder and Jon Caldwell.

Special Photo: Firefighter and Gwinnett Tech alum Matt Caswell, far left, helped save the life of the man beside him in the photo: Stephen Rosenthal. Others involved in the rescue were, from left to right, Mark McManious, Joshua Kaman, Mark Rettenmeyer and Mitchell Poole. Members of the rescue team not pictured: James Cheatham, Jeremy Reifsnyder and Jon Caldwell.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A graduate of Gwinnett Technical College's paramedic program put his training to the test recently after arriving at the Big Creek Greenway in Alpharetta, where Johns Creek resident Steve Rosenthal was fighting for his life.

Matt Caswell and other members of the Alpharetta Department of Public Safety arrived to find Rosenthal, 58, a cyclist who was riding alone on the nature trail. The man had stopped breathing and was turning gray.

Rosenthal's heart had stopped while he was alone, riding his bicycle.

An anesthesiologist who was on the greenway assisted emergency medical staff in providing Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

The team of rescuers inserted a tube into his trachea, so he could breathe. They also started intravenous fluids, injected Epinephrine and administered the Automated External Defibrillator four times.

Rosenthal was transported by Rural Metro ambulance to North Fulton Regional Hospital and was subsequently airlifted to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he underwent surgery.

The man survived despite the odds. Survival from an out-of-hospital heart attack in which the patient stops breathing is generally less than 10 percent.

Caswell said he was glad to have been able to help Rosenthal.

"Fortunately, we were able to provide advanced life support and get him to the hospital with a pulse," Caswell said.

During his time at Gwinnett Tech, Caswell made an impression on his instructors. Among them: EMS instructor David Newton.

"Matt showed that he would do a great job when faced with emergency situations," Newton said. "It's always rewarding to see that the students do as well in the field as they do in my class."

Others involved in the rescue were Mitchell Poole, James Cheatham, Mark Rettenmeyer, Brad Denkinger, Jeremy Reifsnyder, Joshua Kaman, Jon Caldwell and Mark McManious.