When I was on the WSBA Board of Governors, the WSBA president would give out Local Hero Awards to lawyers around the state. I always thought the name of the award was kind of cheesy, but each time I heard the story of what the lawyer had done in his or her community, I would leave the meeting freshly inspired.
One of my colleagues has just done something truly heroic and worthy of recognition, so I’d like to share it with all of you in the legal community. Toby Piering has been a lawyer for four years. He is an associate at Perkins Coie, where he practices in the labor and employment group, typically representing the employer in employment litigation. He was in the middle of taking the plaintiff’s deposition in our office recently when the plaintiff said he wasn’t feeling well. The plaintiff left the room and did not reappear after several minutes. When the plaintiff’s attorney told Toby that the man had heart problems, Toby went searching the hallways to find him; he found the man slumped over and clutching his chest in pain.
Toby is a certified first responder and was prepared to act quickly. He knew that a person in cardiac arrest requires immediate care and that CPR may not be enough. He quickly grabbed the nearest Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) available in the building and connected it to the ailing man. (A defibrillator is a portable device that checks a person’s heart rhythm and advises first responders like Toby on whether or not an electric shock is needed.)
While others called 911, Toby monitored the defibrillator until paramedics arrived to take over. The man avoided any further damage to his heart and was able to recover quickly. Both he and his attorney followed up with a phone call to Toby expressing gratitude for his potentially life-saving response.
Toby, you’re a hero in my book.
Learn more about certified first responder training for your office.