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Man survives sudden cardiac arrest at a Dallas church

Updated: Jan 18

“However, everyone can learn. Anyone may learn how to perform bystander CPR”

Credit: WFAA

Sudden cardiac arrest survivor Bob Richardson

DALLAS (AP) — It was a Sunday morning in late August.

Bob Richardson sat in the same pew he always does - the back row, on the right side of the sanctuary.

He recalls the sermon coming to a conclusion and the offering plate making its rounds.

But he has no recollection of collapsing.

"My head just dropped back, and I was out," he explained. That is how his wife described it to him.

He stopped breathing. He didn't have a pulse.

Richardson went into cardiac arrest inside the sanctuary of the Lovers Lane United Methodist Church.

But that holy site turned out to be the ideal location for a medical emergency.

"We had three doctors in the house among the 70 to 80 individuals who came that Sunday," Richardson recalled.

Dr. Gary Weinstein, a pulmonologist at Texas Health Presbyterian, sat just a few feet away with his wife and father-in-law, both of whom were also doctors.

"I heard a noise that drew my attention, and as I looked to my right, I saw this lady hugging and holding her husband and saying something like, 'Don't go, Bob.'"

Weinstein dashed over to check for a pulse. He discovered none.

Weinstein put Richardson across the pew and began CPR because he was not breathing.

A church member knew that the church had an automatic external defibrillator or AED.

Weinstein placed it on Richardson's chest.

He maintained CPR until the patient's slow, erratic breathing returned. A faint pulse quickly followed.

When paramedics arrived, they transported Richardson to the same hospital where Weinstein works.

"I'm confident that doing what I've been doing for 30 years and seeing code blues and responding to them made me quite comfortable," Weinstein added. "However, everyone can learn. Anyone may learn how to perform bystander CPR."

The abrupt on-field collapse of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin drew attention to cardiac arrest.

Like Richardson, Hamlin survived because medical workers performed CPR and utilized an AED.

However, Weinstein and Dr. Hassan Pervaiz, the Texas Health Presbyterian cardiologist who treated Richardson, both stressed that neither procedure requires a medical degree.

“Every minute that passes without CPR, the chance of survival decreases exponentially,” said Pervaiz.

Pervaiz highlighted that cardiac arrest occurs when the heartbeat abruptly ceases.

To reverse a cardiac episode, a defibrillator can shock the heart.

"On this occasion, it turned out that one of our doctors was present and did an excellent job. "However, anyone might have used it," he explained.

Richardson recalls waking up in the Presbyterian Intensive Care Unit.

Five days later, he walked out of the hospital with a little internal defibrillator installed in his chest.

Healthforce Training Center offers the following CPR classes and certifications in Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas


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