CPR Society Student Saves Family Member’s Life

(1 month after taking course!)


I would like to share something with you all……

Monday night, my husband went into Sudden Cardiac Arrest. I heard a noise from the back yard and went out to check on what it was I heard. I found my husband in a full extension pattern, very obviously gone. Although I was totally freaking out, screaming like a crazy lady for help from neighbors, I did manage to immediately start CPR, call 911, run and open the front door, and keep compressions going for about 6 minutes until the EMTs arrived.

I was certainly not performing CPR in a “prettty” fashion, but the incredible 911 operator kept me going, made me count with him…..1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4……. told me to not worry about breaths, just keep compressions going……..despite my screaming “he’s gone, it’s not working,” he stayed with me and made me do it……..

The EMTs arrived, continued CPR, defibbed him there in the back yard once, then twice in the ambulance, never stopped. When we arrived at Sunrise Medical Center, there was an entire team of people waiting…it looked like something out of a TV show.. the EMT jumped off of Tom, a hospital guy jumped on, they wheeled him into the unit, right there and there was another team waiting there, ready with paddles raised, and hit him at least once, probably more, I was too shocky to remember.

After what seemed like hours, the ER Doc came out and told me…”I just got him back, his heart is beating.” As I had technically “dropped” him while trying to get him on the ground, and he slipped and his head smacked the cement. (all I could think was …great , I just fractured his skull!!!), he was sent within minutes to CT for a brain scan. Also to assess possible CVA. That took only a few minutes, and they brought him back to the ER, and within five more minutes, he was heading to the Cath Lab. Two stents, one balloon and a heart pump (which stayed in for another two days) later, he was intubated and in CVICU. He has been there ever since. Should be released tomorrow.

An Interventional Cardiologist extraordinaire, who performed the Cath, told me after the procedure, and reiterated many times since…95% of patients with type of complete Arrest, who are gone longer than 25 minutes (last total time deceased given to me, based on EMT, ER, staff info, a total of about 30 minutes without a heartbeat or breath) never make it to the ER! Of the remaining 5%, most have substantial brain damage.

Amazingly, although there is obviously major heart damage, and despite having been gone for so very long, he does not appear to have any lasting neurological deficits. He will be wearing a Defibrillation Vest for 90 days, then be assessed as to whether he needs an internal Defibrillator. He still has a long road ahead for rehabilitation.

So….you can tell your students that not only does CPR work, but even if , under the worst of circumstances, you seem panicked and out of control, the lessons learned will kick in and, they, too, may someday save their loved one’s, or a total stranger’s, life.

Thank you for having taught me the basics, which truly prepared me to use the adrenaline to save a life, rather than watch, helplessly, my love slip away…..