top of page

Quick response from lifeguards save a man’s life after heart attack incident in Jacksonville Beach

Lifeguards in Jacksonville Beach save a man after he has a heart attack
Lifeguards in Jacksonville Beach save a man after he has a heart attack

A day at the beach brings back both happy and unpleasant memories for J.R. Bourne.

It is the location where a citizen of Jacksonville Beach, Florida, passed away and was revived by quick-thinking emergency personnel using an AED.

When he fell and stopped breathing in June 2015, 40-year-old Bourne was playing soccer on the sand with his friend Luis.

A bystander started CPR right away, and a 911 call was made. Fortunately, there were lifeguards nearby on a Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue truck.

One of the first responders, lifeguard Gordon VanDusen, claimed, "We were driving down the beach about 10 a.m., putting our lifeguards out on towers when we heard calls for help." The lifeguards had just finished refresher training and were qualified in CPR and AED.

The lifeguards took over CPR in a matter of seconds. To shock Bourne's heart back into a regular beat, they utilized an AED. He was kept alive by the eight-person crew until an ambulance showed up.

Bourne went back to the beach a week later to express his gratitude to some of the lifeguards who saved him.

Each year, more than 350,000 Americans have a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital. When the heart's electrical system is damaged, it can cause cardiac arrest, which is when the heart stops beating suddenly. Death can ensue in minutes if CPR is not given and an AED is not utilized to shock the heart.

At the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Bourne discovered that he was one of the 11% of patients who underwent emergency medical treatment and survived a heart attack.

Bourne underwent tests and operations during his six days in the hospital.

His arteries were not blocked during cardiac catheterization, but scarring was seen on 20% of his heart during echocardiography and MRI. He had an ejection fraction score of 25, which is a gauge of how well the heart pumps blood. 50 or more is considered to be typical.

Bourne's official diagnosis was hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle that can impair electrical signals and heartbeat. It's a widespread disorder that is typically hereditary, although its root cause is unknown.

Bourne's heart could have stopped as a result of HCM. In people with HCM, strenuous exercise can cause arrhythmias, which can result in cardiac arrest.

Because Bourne continued to have a significant chance of suffering another cardiac arrest, he was given an implanted cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). His pulse rate is monitored by a pocket-watch-sized implanted device in his chest, which shocks him if it notices an unusual beat.

During a round of golf six months later, Bourne tested his new ICD. At the hospital, he discovered that his ICD shocked him when his heart rate spiked to 288 beats per minute before he passed out and "felt like someone punched me in the chest when I wasn't expecting it." A 60 to 100 beats per minute heartbeat is considered normal.

Pam added, "They were able to pinpoint what occurred, but not why. We don't take the matter of luck lightly."

The duo have since received their CPR and AED certifications. Bourne joined the board of the American Red Cross Jacksonville Beach Volunteer Life Saving Corps, and they both volunteer for the American Heart Association.

The 43-year-old Bourne declared, "It's crucial. AEDs ought to be as widely available as fire extinguishers."

We offer BLS, ACLS, and PALS Training and certification

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page