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911 dispatcher guided woman to perform CPR on husband while waiting for emergency responders

911 Dispatcher Helped Woman Perform CPR On Her Husband Over The Phone
911 Dispatcher Helped Woman Perform CPR On Her Husband Over The Phone

There are some things in life we cannot control. While we can make use of the resources at our disposal, such as eating wholesome foods, getting enough sleep, and leading an active lifestyle, we are unable to alter our fate. If you were to ask Terry Lewis and Lesa Lewis if they concur, they would both respond emphatically with "Yes! ”

Terry Lewis, a golf enthusiast, and an ardent outdoorsman is dedicated to heart health, which includes leading an active lifestyle.

Terry Lewis made sure to see his doctor frequently because there was a history of heart disease in his family. He lost his 40-year-old first brother to a heart attack in 2001. He lost his second sibling to a heart attack in 2013 when he was 39 years old.

He also had to have triple bypass procedures for his mother and sister. Terry, then 58 years old, requested a nuclear stress test on his heart to look for any weakening or irregularity following the death of his second brother.

His cardiologist gave him what he took to be a clean bill of health at his checkup, or so he thought: "On a scale of 1-10, my heart was an 18 and is the last thing that I would ever have to worry about, as I did exceptionally well on the exam."

Soon after, in April 2014, Terry's wife Lesa was startled awake at midnight by an urgency that she and Terry both firmly ascribe to their faith. Lesa noticed Terry making an odd snorting noise that she had never heard before and realized something wasn't right. Alarmingly, she failed in her endeavor to wake him up.

She dialed 9-1-1 right away and spoke with the dispatcher. The dispatcher patiently and clearly provided directions over the phone when Lesa admitted she did not know how to conduct CPR, enabling Lesa to perform chest compressions.

Those instructions kept Terry's heart pumping for the eight minutes it took emergency personnel to get to their remote home with an AED. In the hours and days that followed, Terry had an emergency heart catheterization, five open-heart bypass procedures since five arteries were 90% blocked, and he also got an implantation pacemaker.

Terry discovered later that, on the night of his cardiac attack, he had coded five times—once in their home, once during the ambulance trip to the hospital, and once more once they got to the emergency room.

Terry would not be alive today if it weren't for the operator giving Tessa clear CPR instructions, the promptness of the first responders, and the AED that arrived with them.

Ideally, if Tessa knows CPR and attended CPR training, it would have further minimized the risk of Terry succumbing to cardiac arrest. The American Heart Association encourages lay persons to attend CPR training tailored for situations like these. Medical workers are encouraged to attend the more advanced BLS CPR training and obtain BLS certification.

The action and experiences of Terry's wife and carer, Lesa, are equally significant to the intensity of his story. Lesa has walked by Terry's side throughout his rehabilitation, which Terry publicly credits as essential to his recovery. With the help of the 9-1-1 dispatcher, Lesa performed the compressions that kept Terry alive and significantly improved his health outcome.

Terry and Lesa have since developed into committed American Heart Association volunteers. They actively told their stories at Heart Balls, in the community at hospitals, with first responders, civic groups, You're the Cure supporters, and so much more. They also contributed to the fundraising efforts for their local Heart Walk.

Terry's story is an outstanding example of what can happen when the chain of survival is properly implemented and when our emergency response system is given the tools (CPR instruction and AED units) it so sorely needs to be effective. According to Terry, "our Lord and Savior have undoubtedly provided me a Mulligan in life, which is a second chance, which I aim to fully utilize."

We offer Heartsaver CPR AED courses in the following locations


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