Mom thanks Columbus paramedics who saved 14-year-old son’s life

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A 14-year-old boy is alive thanks to the quick action of Columbus paramedics.

On July 7th, Athena Wilkins said she called 911, telling the operator her teenage son Carreon was having a seizure. Paramedics arrived, realized his heart had stopped and called for backup.

They said they immediately started using a CPR machine that pumps out exact compressions to the heart. One of the four firefighters recognized, Paramedic Kyle Merz said, “we did CPR, started to breath for him as much as we could, and put him on the monitor and shocked him.”

They got his heart started again, stabilized him and, Merz said, took him to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Thursday morning, Wilkins came to station 15 on East Livingston Road to thank the firefighters in person.

“My son had literally died and they brought him back to life,” Wilkins told all the firefighters gathered in the truck bay.

Carreon, who is on the Autism Spectrum, now sports a pacemaker after his cardiac arrest, a device Wilkins said keeps his heart in perfect rhythm.

“They literally brought my baby back to life, there are no words to express how happy I am,” she told firefighters. “I am glad that God put this knowledge and skills in them,” she said.

“This is something that Columbus Division of Fire does each and every day, but we want to take timeout to make sure that we acknowledge the impact that this has on our family members here in our community,” said Dr. David Kesig, Medical Director at Columbus Fire.

Battalion Chief Steve Martin said Dr. Kesig leads the EMS division on protocols, or in essence a checklist of what responses are necessary on each and every emergency. He said those protocols grow and evolve as emergencies evolve.

Firefighter Merz thanked the Wilkins family.

“It is the job we do so it is like a pat on the back,” he said. “When you see the mother come up it is pretty overwhelming and emotional, we don’t get thanked a lot and for her to go out her way and do that it is a pretty cool feeling.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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