One man overdosed on heroin twice in 24 hours; he has paramedics to thank for still being alive.
EMS workers responded and saved Steven Sundquist’s life both times his overdoses were reported within a 24 hour period. For EMS, saving a drug addict twice in one day wasn’t unusual; however, what Sundquist did next was.
Sundquist enrolled himself in a treatment program, got clean, and sent a thank you note to his rescuers. “I died. I never experienced an overdose in my life let alone two in the same day and it just freaked me the hell out” (Seltzer, 2017, paragraph 10), Sundquist said. “I knew I had to change something.”
It all started with a card. “I felt like they deserve that… They don’t get enough credit for the job that they do. They deserve that from me. I think it gives them hope” (Seltzer, 2017, paragraph 7), Sundquist explained. He sent his note to the fire department administrators. When the EMS coordinator, Mike Landress, saw it, he arranged for Sundquist to meet the paramedics who saved his life.
The reunion of patient and rescuers brought tears to everyone’s eyes. “To have somebody come back and talk to you and tell you how appreciative they are and see how clean and sober they are, it means a lot” (Seltzer, 2017, paragraph 15), Lt. Joe Senseman of the Boynton Beach Fire Rescue said .
Landress was inspired to share the EMS and Sundquist story on the department’s Facebook page. Marking it down as a victory over the all-too-common opioid epidemic, Landress posted, “The BBFRD would like to express its utmost gratitude to Steve for having the courage and strength to share his story and images of addiction with the hope it may help others” (Seltzer, 2017, paragraph 21).
Sundquist began using prescription painkillers after having surgery for a baseball injury to his elbow. When he was no longer able to obtain prescription medicine, he turned to heroin.
Landress gave Sundquist all the credit for taking the initiative to improve his life, seeking treatment and getting clean. Stories of victory over addiction and overdose are extremely rare. “It does such wonders for the firefighters’ [and] paramedics’ morale when they see these success stories” (Seltzer, 2017, paragraph 23), Landress added.
When the reunion ended, and the paramedics went back to work, they made certain Sundquist’s story wasn’t forgotten. When speaking with one overdose survivor who was depressed about his habit and his situation, Lt. Senseman said, “there is hope. [I] let him know about Steve and said anybody can make a change but they need help” (Seltzer, 2017, paragraph 26).
For more information on this topic, please read “He Overdosed Twice in 24 Hours, Then Came Back to Thank His Rescuers” by Alexandra Seltzer.
Seltzer, A. (2017, June 23). He overdosed twice in 24 hours, then came back to thank his rescuers. Palm Beach Post. Retrieved from http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/local/overdosed-twice-hours-then-came-back-thank-his-rescuers/CT6cH1Tj5QIPNzuqO9nJmN/