Bob Wilson was on his usual morning walk at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, when he had trouble breathing and collapsed. His friend ran for help, which came immediately.
A campus safety officer responded as a dispatcher called 911. Meanwhile, two former emergency medical technicians arrived in the parking lot for their workdays and saw their colleague administering CPR. Another colleague brought an automatic external defibrillator. The group continued to administer CPR until paramedics arrived and took over.
Wilson was transported to the hospital and back to work three weeks later.
It was the second time that staffers at the institute were called to a sudden cardiac arrest and the second time their skills and quick action helped save someone.
“Why did Bob Wilson survive? Because the Chain of Survival is strong at the Culinary [Institute of America],” said David Violante, director of EMS at Arlington Fire District and an AHA board member.
Violante pointed out that colleagues recognized it was a cardiac emergency, got help immediately and called 911.
“He’s alive because three bystanders knew CPR and didn’t delay in using it. They brought an AED to Bob’s side for early defibrillation and paramedics were at the scene quickly,” he said. “Without their fast intervention and training in CPR, we wouldn’t be celebrating Bob Wilson’s life.”
Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death. This electrical malfunction in the heart causes an irregular heartbeat that disrupts the normal flow of blood to the brain, lungs and other organs.
Each year, more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States. According to the AHA, about 88 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die.
Despite the odds, Wilson was the second cardiac arrest victim saved on the Culinary Institute campus. In 2008, student Douglas Chrisman collapsed during class in a kitchen.
Again, the Chain of Survival was activated. Two of the responders — campus security officer Carl Wilson and campus safety dispatcher Al Seifert — assisted in both incidents.