Quick response by husband, Carmel Fire Department saved Carmel woman’s life 


At first, Carmel resident Curt Mikulla thought his wife, Debbie, had fallen out of bed.

He soon discovered it was more than a fall, and he had to perform CPR on her with the help of a 911 dispatcher. His quick actions and the fast response of Carmel Fire Department paramedics got his wife to Indiana University Health North, where she made a full recovery from a Dec. 28 heart attack.

“All the way around, the care from every entity was fast and professional,” Debbie said. 

Debbie said she had learned she had a heart condition during a foot surgery three years ago when the anesthesiologist found the left ventricle of her heart was pumping weaker than it should. She had been seeing a cardiologist and had an echocardiogram three years in a row.

“The cardiologist didn’t know why, but the left ventricle just stopped,” she said.

Those responsible for saving her life, including her husband, were honored at a March 27 ceremony at CFD Station 45, 10701 N. College Ave.

Debbie said her first piece of good fortune came when her husband came up to the bedroom early. It was 8:45 p.m. and it is rare that both would be in bed at the same time that early in the evening.

“So, the fact that we were in the same room at the same time, it’s quite a miracle,” said Debbie, who usually goes to bed at 8 p.m.

Curt, more of a night owl, was looking at his phone in bed.

The 911 dispatcher, Casey Guajardo, said Curt was calm throughout the process.

“I’m interested in hearing the 911 call,” Curt said. “I know I couldn’t have done it without Casey.”

After Debbie collapsed from the heart attack, she hit her head on the side table.

“I had four staples in my head, which was the least of my worries,” she said. “I was face down in the pool of blood and Curt rolled me over and said I was already starting to turn blue.”

Curt said he tried mouth-to-mouth for one second.

“Then it dawned on me that this is wrong and I had to call 911,” he said. “Within the first 10 seconds after (the dispatcher) confirmed the address, she had me do chest compressions. I was repeating them as she went through it.”

Although the five-minute wait for paramedics seemed to last forever, Curt said he realized it was an incredible response time.

“I’m thankful everyday that I’m in Carmel and Hamilton County,” he said. “We are able to have the best fire, best police and best hospital, IU Health, take such great care of Debbie.”

Debbie said the chest compressions were done correctly because she had bruised, cracked ribs.

“It was likely the paramedics did that,” Curt said. “Nurses said you are not doing it right, if you are not cracking ribs.”

Carmel Police Department Chief Drake Sterling said he was proud of the police and fire response.

“This is what they are trained for and this is why we do what we do,” Sterling said.

Michael Hubbs, executive director of Hamilton County 911, said it was a great example of public safety.

“These are world-class public safety first responders,” Hubbs said. “They save lives.”

Debbie and Curt previously visited Station 45 Jan. 15 on her 61st birthday to thank the first responders.

“I told them I was here celebrating that birthday because of all of you,” she said. “There are no words I have to express the gratitude I have for everyone.”