Communications civilians save Wingman in coma
By Eric Brian, 45th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 07, 2011
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Civilian members of the 45th Space Communications Squadron are credited with saving the life of a co-worker who was found in a diabetic coma at his home.
Joe Joscak, 45 SCS Chief of Client Services and Mike Knight's supervisor, realized Knight didn't show up to work and was unreachable by phone on the morning of Monday, Aug. 15.
Joscak, aware Knight is a Type 1 diabetic, dispatched a coworker to his residence.
"I tried calling him several times on his cell phone," said Joscak. "We knew he had problems with diabetes, regulating his blood sugar, he's single, and lives alone. I told Timothy McCall to take the truck, and he went over to his apartment."
SCS personnel talked management at the apartment complex into letting McCall into Knight's apartment.
"They were reluctant at first, but we explained his condition," said Joscak. "When they went in, the first thing they saw was him laid out on the couch."
Knight was in a diabetic coma. McCall phoned 911, and emergency responders rushed him to Wuesthoff Hospital, Rockledge, where he was kept in the intensive care unit.
"The last thing I remember, I was lying on the couch watching TV Sunday," said Knight. "Then Tim found me the next Monday morning."
Joscak and McCall are credited with saving Knight's life.
"Thank you to Tim and Joe from the entire family," said Knight's brother, John "Skip" Knight, of Tampa. "They saved Mike's life. If they didn't act when they did, I'd hate to think what would've happened."
"It felt good," said Joscak. "I got a card from all three of Mike's daughters. It said, 'Thank you, thank you, thank you! You saved our father's life!'"
Joscak credited his supervisor, Dennis Thompson, with creating an environment that encourages members to help their Wingmen.
"I know the Air Force has the Wingman program that encourages coworkers to do that sort of thing," said Skip Knight. "This is a perfect example of why this works. They saved a life."
Mike Knight was kept in a medically induced coma until Aug. 19.
"I woke up in between," said Mike Knight. "I was a little incoherent, fighting, trying to figure out where I was."
After his condition stabilized, the medical staff weaned him off the medications which were used to keep him in a coma and a ventilator. He was released from the hospital Aug. 26.
He returned home, where he was receiving further care, and undergoing outpatient treatment at the Veterans Affairs Clinic in Viera.
"I'm on oxygen, I have an in-house nurse to see me three times per week, and a physical therapist three times per week, to rehabilitate and get me back in shape," Mike Knight said.
He also thanked his co-workers and supervisors for saving his life. "I'm very thankful for the Wingman program, and Joe was persistent," he said. "Tim came out to the house to look for me. He was persistent they found me. If he had just knocked on door and left, that probably would've been the end of me. I have them to thank for sure. It was a team effort on their part."
A retired Air Force Technical Sergeant supply technician, Mike Knight has worked as an Air Force civilian since November 1993. He came to Patrick a little over two years from Kirtland AFB, N.M., where he was in vehicle maintenance material control.
Now 57, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 36.
Skip Knight was constantly by his brother's side beginning Sept. 16, and Mike Knight's three daughters were taking turns helping take care of him.
"We've gotten to spend a little time together," said Skip Knight. "I was worried about him, but there was a reason he kept hanging in there. I kept telling doctors and nurses, when you get him back to me, I'd give him a big hug ... and a swift kick."