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Milan man thanks sheriff, deputy who saved his life

By Brandon Addeo • Jun 22, 2019 at 10:00 PM

MILAN — Milan resident Alex MacNicol stood, laughed and joked with members of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Monday morning.

That’s something he might not have been able to do if the sheriff and a detective didn’t show up at his home when he suffered a heart attack last month.

On May 17, MacNicol collapsed in his Seminary Road home after suffering the heart attack. Sheriff Paul Sigsworth was in the area and responded to the home, followed closely behind by his detective, Bob Rieger.

Both men performed CPR on MacNicol and were able to revive him with help from paramedics, who took MacNicol to Fisher-Titus Medical Center in Norwalk. 

“I was basically dead,” MacNicol told the Register. “They got me back going. They basically saved my life.”

The sheriff’s office gave Sigsworth and Rieger the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association Life Saving Award in a surprise ceremony Monday morning, which was attended by MacNicol and his family, including his wife, Sharon, who found MacNicol after suffering the heart attack and called 911. 

MacNicol also gave the men plaques, which bore the words: “You may have cracked my ribs, but you saved my life.”

Sigsworth said on that day in May, he didn’t know if MacNicol was going to survive.

“It’s quite a feeling when you have someone in the condition he was that day, and you’re able to see him two weeks later and you’re able to give him a hug,” he said.

He admitted he felt embarrassed at the surprise ceremony.

“We’re just doing what we’re trained to do,” Sigsworth said.

During the ceremony, Rieger told MacNicol he “couldn’t believe” the man they performed CPR on was standing in front of them and talking.

“We’ve been in this situation before where, unfortunately, it wasn’t the same outcome,” Rieger said.

After Fisher-Titus, MacNicol was transported to a Toledo hospital where he received further treatment. He thanked the medical staffs of both hospitals and the paramedics who helped him. Since his release, he said he’s been doing “really well.”

“I’ve been really lucky,” MacNicol said.

Sigsworth praised the paramedics, from North Central EMS and Milan Township Fire, who helped “fine-tune” their CPR when they were tending to MacNicol. He also thanked the Perkins Township Fire Department, who regularly gives CPR training to the sheriff’s office.


Deputy recognized

The sheriff’s office also awarded Deputy Brett Szakats with the Life Saving Award after he responded to the home of a Vermilion Township resident May 20 who was going into cardiac arrest.

Szakats assisted a home health care nurse perform CPR on the resident for about four to five minutes until Vermilion Township firefighters arrived to take over.

“Four minutes is a long time to be doing CPR,” Sigsworth said.

The CPR helped preserve the life of the resident, a man, Sigsworth said. He later died, but Sigsworth said the man’s family thanked them for keeping him alive long enough for them to be with him.

Szakats praised the nurse and said they felt fortunate to assist in keeping the man alive.

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