There wasn't much time for Scott Kern to work out.
Scott, a resident of Norfolk, Virginia, was in fairly decent physical condition. He had played sports growing up, but it had been a while since he had exercised consistently. He was aware that he needed to shed a few pounds.
Trisha, his wife, had a stronger focus on fitness. She introduced him to healthier food options and frequently pushed him to work out.
Scott vowed to improve his health in the new year.
He started rising earlier than normal so he could make it to the gym. He exercised with weights a few times a week before getting on an elliptical. He had forgotten how challenging the cardio part had been.
Scott exercised at the gym on February 19 and arrived at work at 7 a.m. A few of his coworkers had already settled in at their desks.
Scott entered his office and passed out.
He fell to the ground, and other people heard him and rushed over to him. They dialed 911 after noticing that he was not breathing.
Dan Hay and Jermaine Bennett, who had CPR training, were among the group. The two made an immediate effort to revive Scott.
An AED was taken from the wall by another employee. An AED, short for automated external defibrillator, is a portable electronic device that monitors heart rhythm and, if necessary, can shock the heart in an effort to try and restore a normal rhythm.
They were relieved that, once opened, the device walked them through each step because nobody knew how to use it.
Within minutes, an ambulance showed up. Scott was taken by paramedics to the nearby hospital, which was only a few miles away.
Doctors connected Scott to a ventilator since he was unable to breathe on his own, and they also put him into a medically induced coma. Days became hours, which became days, which became more than a week.
Scott was repeatedly brought out of his coma by doctors and Trisha, but they were unsuccessful. On the tenth day, which was her daughter's fifth birthday, it finally happened. It fulfilled her birthday wish.
Scott was aware, but physicians kept him on a ventilator as they investigated the circumstances surrounding his cardiac arrest.
Doctors found that he had suffered a heart attack. Two of his heart's arteries were blocked, which was the reason for it. By using a catheterization procedure to install two stents, doctors were able to reestablish appropriate blood flow.
Doctors also discovered Scott had an uncommon complication: an infection in his lungs that was probably brought on by food fragments that got stuck there during CPR.
Scott was transferred to a different hospital for more recuperation time after spending several weeks in intensive care. Six weeks after his cardiac arrest and heart attack, the ventilator was eventually turned off.
Many of Scott's motor skills were lost. He was unable to walk or write.
Trisha had bought him some kids' magnetic letter boards so he could spell words while he was still on the ventilator. He was able to write once more after receiving in-patient physical treatment, and he gradually started using his legs.
End of April saw Scott returning home.
He first required additional oxygen and used a wheelchair or walker. To allow him to relax halfway up their stairs, Trisha placed a chair there.
He started going to cardiac rehabilitation in June of that year. He no longer worried about endangering his health because of the workouts, which gave him the courage to raise his heart rate.
In July, he went back to his part-time job. He resumed his full-time job in September, but at different hours than he had been doing before his heart attack and cardiac arrest.
Additionally, Scott and Trisha have started educating people about heart disease, healthy lifestyle choices, and CPR and AED awareness. Scott believes his life was saved by Hay, Bennett, and other coworkers. The pair have gotten engaged with the American Heart Association chapter in their area. Scott served as the Hampton Roads Heart Walk's chair in 2020 and will shortly serve as the board's executive director.