MARTINEZ - A Contra Costa County Juvenile Hall cook who fell unconscious during a heart attack in the facility's kitchen credits the two Contra Costa Health services nurses on duty with saving his life.

Nurses Liz Maaske and Mary Vesey revived their coworker, Edward Taraskewich, using CPR and an automated external defibrillator shortly after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the morning of Jan. 6. When the nurses found Taraskewich, he had no pulse and was not breathing, according to Will Harper, spokesman for Contra Costa Health Services.

In recognition of their efforts, the county's Emergency Medical Services Division awarded the two women, along with emergency responders, a "Certificate of Heroism" in a ceremony attended by Taraskewich on March 12.

Maaske and Vesey, who have a combined 35 years of experience as nurses at at the John A. Davis Juvenile Hall were trained to administer CPR and use a defibrillator, but this was the first time they had had to use them on the job, according to Harper.

The nurses were able to revive Taraskewich before paramedics arrived, according to Harper.

Taraskewich had worked with Maaske and Vesey for 14 years and celebrated his 63rd birthday earlier this month as a result of the women's swift, life-saving actions.

"I would never have seen this day without Liz and Mary," Taraskewich said. "They saved my life."

Taraskewich said he plans to return to his job as lead cook next week.



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