top of page

AHA estimates 90% who have a cardiac arrest outside a hospital pass away unless CPR is administered

AHA: Immediate CPR can double or triple someone’s chances of survival from cardiac arrest
AHA: Immediate CPR can double or triple someone’s chances of survival from cardiac arrest

Will Treinen isn't the type to watch from the sidelines. The 51-year-old businessman gave up numerous nights and weekends to establish a prosperous consulting firm in Olympia, Washington. Will and his wife Denise enjoy hiking, rock climbing, riding, and spending time with their two grown daughters and two young grandchildren when they are not working.

Will added, "My energy has always been forward. "As a business person, I'm constantly looking six to twelve months ahead."

The couple rode the STP in 2017, a two-day journey from Seattle to Portland. Will felt wonderful the first day. However, as soon as they started their trip the following morning, he collapsed from tiredness and was unable to breathe.

He suspected sports-related asthma because it had previously happened while training and pushed Denise to ride ahead. Will was on the ground and surrounded by bikers when she returned for him a little while later. He was struggling for air and had blue skin.

Fortunately, Madeline Dahl, a Seattle cardiac nurse who was traveling on the STP with her father at the time and was 24 years old, arrived on the scene. She felt for Will's pulse but couldn't detect it, so she started chest compressions.

The American Heart Association estimates that 90 percent of persons who have a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital pass away. CPR if administered right away, can increase survival rates by a factor of two to three. Madeline gave CPR for several minutes until the paramedics arrived.

Will's pulse quickly came back before slipping out once more.

When Madeline stopped administering CPR, the paramedics took over and continued to shock Will with a defibrillator while the ambulance drove to the hospital. Madeline was disappointed to learn later that day from another cyclist that he had perished.

Madeline remarked, "I felt bad for Denise that he hadn't made it despite my best attempts."

The reports of Will's demise were made up.

He underwent open heart surgery to treat an 80–90% blockage in his primary coronary artery, and eight days later, he distinctly recalls waking up in a hospital in Tacoma.

He had tubes sticking out of his abdomen, and the drugs were making him feel groggy.

Will had few evident risk factors, despite the fact that his father had died of heart disease. He did not smoke, unlike his father, and his blood pressure and cholesterol levels were not deemed to be concerning by medical professionals.

He thought about his mortality while by himself at night.

Will sent an email to his company's top executives as one of his initial steps, requesting that they handle business while he was away. He took months to get back to work, and he now only comes in two or three days a week. He claimed that he had always intended to retire in his fifties, though possibly not at the age of 51.

Several days after the race, Madeline discovered that Will had lived. A coworker saw a report on Will's heart arrest and the unidentified nurse who saved him on the evening news.

Once the issue was cleared out, Will and Denise welcomed Madeline to supper at their home.

Will's experience has inspired him to spread the word about the value of CPR. He gave a speech at the Tacoma AHA chapter's annual executive brunch earlier this year, and he organized a team for the September 22nd South Sound Heart & Stroke Walk.

Will declared, "I'm a pretty passionate person, and when I give something my energy, it's 100 percent."

In fact, Will and Denise accomplished a long-standing goal by hiking to the 4,000-foot summit of Mount Rose in Washington State less than four months after Will suffered his cardiac arrest. And Will and Denise ran the STP again the following year, a year after Will's life almost ended during the STP race. Will stopped after the first day due to knee problems, but Denise persisted and finished, pausing for a tearful moment close to mile 115, the location of the life-altering event.

We offer BLS, ACLS, and PALS Training and certification


bottom of page