Calm in emergency training earns Madison employee national honors

By Katie Baneck, American Red Cross

On Tuesday, June 23, David Lich was having a meeting with his coworkers at Catalent Pharma Solutions when one of them started acting strangely and making concerning sounds.

Then, that person fell from their chair, cutting themselves in the process. David had another teammate call 9-1-1 while he retrieved the first aid kit and called out for help.

That is when David first met Thomas Coolidge, another employee at Catalent. Thomas is trained in American Red Cross CPR and First Aid and immediately began to apply that training.

Thomas Coolidge

“Thomas was able to come into a very stressful situation, take charge, and give support. What impressed me most was his level of calm,” David said in praise.

Thomas had been working on a report at his desk with headphones in, oblivious to the situation unfolding next door. It wasn’t until David jogged down the hall searching for help that Thomas was alerted to the critical scene.

Upon arrival, Thomas recognized that his co-worker was seizing. He cleared the immediate area around the patient to prevent further injury and protect others around them. He tended to co-worker’s wounded lip, applying pressure to stop the bleeding. He talked with the co-worker, keeping them conscious and attaining important basic information.

You can be trained in CPR, First Aid, lifeguarding and other life-saving skills. Sign up here for virtual and in-person lessons from the American Red Cross.

By the time the first responders were on scene, the patient had become responsive and Thomas provided paramedics with an update. It was this quick thinking and first aid response that inspired co-worker Marissa Barrett to nominate Thomas for a life-saving recognition from the Red Cross.

When asked what advice he would give to those considering Red Cross first aid training, Thomas said he would encourage to treat classes as seriously as you would an emergency scene.

“Make sure that you pay attention and take the details of the training to heart while you’re learning, watching, and reading,” he said. “It is much more difficult to remember details when under duress and going through the actions.”

On Thursday, March 11, the Southwest Chapter of the Red Cross presented Thomas with the Certificate of Merit, the highest civilian honor given by the Red Cross, which includes a signed commendation from the President of the United States as well as a medal and a pin.