In April 2020, Lisa Wiles was preparing supper in the kitchen when she heard her husband, Dan, yell a profanity from the other room.
She assumed it was because of the news. Nonetheless, she went to see how he was doing.
Dans' eyes were wide open and he was making obnoxious breathing noises. At first, Lisa assumed Johnny was choking.
She yelled at him to see if he responded, then dashed for the phone to dial 911. Dan had had trouble regulating his heart rate in the past few years, so she was worried.
The 911 operator recognized the sounds he was making and advised Lisa to begin CPR.
Dan, at 57, was having a heart attack. Lisa, who was 51 at the time, had received CPR instruction nearly two decades earlier. Lisa brought Dan to the floor and began compressions with the help of the 911 operator.
An officer from the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department stormed into their home outside of Syracuse, New York, a few minutes later, and hooked up an automatic external defibrillator. They continued CPR until a second sheriff's officer came and relieved Lisa when the equipment revealed Dan's heart wasn't in a shockable beat.
After performing the CPR, Lisa grew exhausted.
Dan's heart was not in a shockable rhythm after a second attempt to use the AED. Then an ambulance arrived, and paramedics used their defibrillator on the patient. The machine indicated a shockable rhythm this time and delivered a shock. Dan's heart began to beat again thirteen minutes after it had stopped.
Dan motioned to Lisa as she entered, pointing to his chest and asking if she had performed CPR.
Dan began to cry after Lisa said yes. Dan was released after 5 days.
Dan had atrial fibrillation, and subsequently his heart went into ventricular tachycardia, an irregular rhythm in the bottom chambers of the heart, resulting in cardiac arrest.
Doctors implanted an implantable cardioverter defibrillator in his heart after his cardiac arrest to shock it if it goes into a life-threatening irregular rhythm again.
Dan puttered around the house for three months as he recovered. It took several months for the gravity of what he'd gone through to sink in.
Dan was grateful for what Lisa had done for him; he would have died otherwise, and now he had a second chance at life. What she had done for him and how she handled herself in that situation was incredible.
Learning more about CPR brought Lisa comfort. She was taken aback by the numbers' extremes: 9 out of 10 people who experience a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital die; however, those who receive CPR within the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest can double or treble their odds of survival.
Around 70% of the estimated 350,000 cardiac arrests outside of hospitals occur at home each year, but half of those victims do not receive aid from onlookers before an ambulance arrives.
"I wouldn't be here if Lisa hadn't done CPR," Dan remarked. "I'm alive today because a thousand things had to happen right, and they did, and it all began with CPR."
We offer BLS, ACLS, and PALS Training and certification