We look at the dangers of cardiac arrest and heart attacks every day, and statistics can be grim. But this Thanksgiving, we want to look at our favorite stories of lives saved by CPR! We’ve been keeping our eye on all the amazing stories of CPR saving lives across the country, and it’s truly an opportunity to be grateful. Here are some incredible stories from this year that we can all be thankful for:

Runner’s Rescue

Just this past Monday, 57-year old Howard Walters was running a half marathon in Philadelphia. He ran every week, had run dozens of half marathons in the past, and started the race with no trouble at all. Part way through the race, Walters suffered a heart attack and collapsed. Another runner immediately started CPR, and the man survived! This Thanksgiving will surely carry extra meaning for the Walters family.

Double Arrest!

Here’s a story with a twist – in New York City, a man robbed a CVS and went running up Lexington Avenue. NYPD Sgt James Gebhard took chase and found the man face down and unconscious a few blocks away. He had no pulse and was lifeless. The sergeant called for a defibrillator and immediately began CPR. The man was brought back to life twice before finally stabilizing and lived! The man was brought to the hospital, and later arrested. But he still thanked the officer personally for saving his life. Sgt Gebhard was happy to do the right thing, and said “Whether or not he just committed a crime or not, that doesn’t matter. You gotta bring him back.”

A Decent Proposal

Image courtesy Chicago Police Dept

A SWAT medic, Sgt Mike Nowacki, was running a 15k in full SWAT gear and planned to propose to his girlfriend at the end of the race. As he neared the finish line, he had to put his plans on hold when he heard the crowd calling for a medic. A woman had collapsed due to cardiac arrest and had stopped breathing. Nowacki and a firefighter called EMS and began CPR immediately. When paramedics arrived and took her to the hospital, Nowacki finished the race, dropped to one knee, and proposed! The victim survived, credited to the CPR intervention and paramedics quick response (and Nowacki’s girlfriend said YES)!

Senior Care

In Sioux Falls, SD, three senior men were taking their normal walk through the Western Mall when one of them Keith Clark began to have a heart attack. His best friend, 71-year old Bill Winness, rushed to action, grabbing the nearest AED while their other friend called EMS. Winness had fortunately had AED training and remembered the basics well to apply it. The defibrillator recognized that Clark had a pacemaker, and instructed Winness to give CPR instead. The application of CPR provided enough oxygen and blood flow to sustain Clark’s life until paramedics arrived. Winness credited already knowing the location of the AED for his quick actions, which likely saved his best friend’s life!

These are just some of the hundreds of stories that come out regularly about CPR saving lives. Unfortunately, still only about 45% of cardiac arrest victims outside the hospital will receive bystander care. When bystanders perform CPR on cardiac arrest victims, chances of survival double or even triple. Only a massive increase in CPR training and certification can truly fight back against these deadly attacks, which is why it’s so important to encourage your family, your classmates, your coworkers, and your friends to get their certification as early as possible. 

At Safety & Health Solutions, we provide classes for AHA-certified CPR training, and will send you home the skills you need to act in these unexpected and potentially deadly situations. You can read all about how dangerous the threat of cardiac arrest is in some of our recent blogs. So get your training ASAP and you just might have something extra to be thankful for next year!Safety and Health