Kahuku AD back at work after cardiac close call
Kahuku High School athletic director Gillian Yamagata, who went into cardiac arrest and passed out as she drove into the school parking lot the morning of April 19, has recovered and was back at work Monday.
“Gillian, even when she was in the hospital, she’s the same old Gillian — bubbly,” said Kingsley Ah You, a behavioral specialist at the school and one of the people who sprang into action that day to help save Yamagata.
Yamagata’s minivan had slowly collided with another vehicle and crashed through a fence. The minivan was still running and locked when Ah You ran out at about 8:30 a.m. and saw parent Brad Anae looking for a way to break in.
Ah You found a coconut in the back of Anae’s truck, hurled it at the back window, climbed in, turned off the engine, unlocked the doors and pulled her out.
He said he wasn’t concerned about the broken glass. “I’m a little heavy. I worried I wouldn’t fit.”
He said, “Everyone was where they needed to be. We’re very grateful. … We wanted to do whatever we needed to do.”
Yamagata did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.
Today at City Hall, Councilman Ernie Martin plans to recognize Ah You, dentist Joe Mayer and dental assistant Josie Maiava of Kahuku’s Red Raider Health Center “and the staff and faculty of Kahuku High and Intermediate School for their courageous and selfless life-saving actions,” according to a text of Martin’s comments provided to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
In his comments, Martin is expected to say that “bystanders became heroes.”
Mayer ran out of the health center and began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation as Maiava felt for a carotid pulse.
Mayer counted as he did more than 20 chest compressions, said Ah You, who remained at Yamagata’s side.
Firefighters arrived, “tapped him out” and took over CPR, Ah You said.
Not getting a pulse, firefighters employed a portable defibrillator, shocked Yamagata twice and got her breathing on her own, Kahuku fire Capt. Brendan O’Connor said.
“We get a lot of CPR cases but rarely get saves like this,” O’Connor said. “Let’s just say my crew, along with myself, were pretty stoked about it.”
Yamagata was taken in critical condition by Emergency Medical Services to Wahiawa General Hospital.
Yamagata “doesn’t remember anything,” Ah You said. “She blacked out.”