New Heart Defibrillators Paying Off

Clayton Takemoto
Clayton Takemoto
Debbie Ledwith
Debbie Ledwith
Larry Ledwith
Larry Ledwith

by Mari-Ela David

HONOLULU (KHNL) - New heart defibrillators implemented at airports across our island chain are paying off, with two lives saved within just one week. The heroes are not paramedics, they are airport employees.

Several of them were honored Thursday at the Honolulu International Airport for helping save a State Department of Transportation worker who suffered a heart attack on July 17th.

The ceremony marks the success of a new program implemented in January.

"It feels good to save somebody's life. It feels good," says Clayton Takemoto, one of the airport employees honored.

Another life saved happened at Kapalua Airport in Maui on July 24. Larry Ledwith was jogging with his wife around the airport when he suffered a heart attack.

"I turned around and he was lying on the ground, and he hit his head, he had to have stitches in his head," says his wife Debbie.

Ledwith is recuperating at Queens Medical Center.

"I don't believe, I just do not believe it," he says. "It's very depressing to come over on a nice vacation and all of a sudden you find yourself in a hospital and with a heart attack. Heart attacks are very personal, there's something about it that kind of really hits home."

Under the new program, 1200 airport employees are now armed with CPR training, and all Hawaii airports have 100 defibrillators. Before the program, Hawaii airports only had two heart defibrillators.

"I owe Hawaii one," says Ledwith.

Thursday's ceremony was for employees who revived the DOT state worker at Honolulu International Airport.

A ceremony honoring those who helped save Ledwith will be held Friday at Kapalua Airport.