BREVARD COUNTY — Coming back to reality after spending a week of luxury while cruising the seas is expected to be disappointing, but for one cruiser, it was actually life-threatening.
On Aug. 4, Peter Rego and his family had disembarked from their week-long journey on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas when Mr. Rego collapsed in the parking garage of Cruise Terminal 1 from cardiac arrest.
A team of Cruise Operations Associates and three bystanders who were nearby when the incident occurred sprang into action, ultimately saving Mr. Rego’s life.
The employees were Sean Summers, Josh Clayton and Stephanie Dobson.
Mr. Rego, who was days away from celebrating his 73rd birthday when he experienced cardiac arrest, was taken to the Health First Cape Canaveral Hospital. He and his family were visiting from Bermuda when they went on the cruise.
Mr. Rego told Port Authority officials upon recovery, “I really appreciate their help at the time. God bless them all, and thank you very much from deep in my heart.”
“I was by the pickup area where passengers get off, and I was directing cars when they were ready to leave, when all of a sudden I heard a bunch of people screaming,” Mr. Summers recalled.
“I called for paramedics and I called Stephanie over (she has a background in the medical field), and she took over the situation and told me to call 9-1-1,” Mr. Summers continued. “While I was on the phone, I was directing people to back up and give space just for the paramedics.”
While Mr. Summers and Mrs. Dobson attended to Mr. Rego, Mr. Clayton was on his way to the group with a portable defibrillator.
According to Port Authority officials, three unamed bystanders performed CPR and chest compressions until Canaveral Fire Rescue and Brevard County Sheriff’s Department arrived.
“The day of the incident, I was over by the custom’s door exit, and my fellow coworker, Sean, hailed me on the radio, indicating that we needed a police officer,” Mrs. Dobson said. “I went over the screens, which was right under the garage, and noticed that there were a lot of individuals that were really frantic; and that’s when I noticed the gentleman was on the ground, and there were bystanders doing CPR.
“It was a very surreal moment that this was happening at my terminal, as I am the lead in charge of the terminal,” Mrs. Dobson continued. “I told the rest of my team we were expecting EMS and a fire truck, and directed them to get quick access to the patient. Everything came together and it was by the grace of God that everything came out so positive.”
According to Mrs. Dobson, this is the first incident she has been aware of where a cruise passenger has gone under cardiac arrest in a cruise operations parking area outside of a terminal.
Since having a helping hand in saving Mr. Rego’s life, Mr. Summers said he is considering learning CPR in the future.
“I’ve looked into that, especially since I have a few family members who have been in similar situations as well,” Mr. Summers said. “It was jarring to see that in person. I was panicking because it was really intense, and I was in fear for his life. That was the first time I’ve cared for a person at that level in an instant.”
The three port employees were recognized for their actions on Aug. 28 during a Canaveral Port Authority Board of Commissioners meeting.
Mr. Summers, Mr. Clayton and Mrs. Dobson were given special recognition by Canaveral Fire Rescue Chief David Sargeant.
For more information, visit www.portcanaveral.com.