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Life Saving Stories

Don Fraser
Don Fraser, 78, of Maple Grove, MN, was an avid golfer and vintage car restorer. He still is today due to an AED and a quick acting rescuer. On an August afternoon last year, Don was playing golf at the Monticello Country Club. He had not been feeling well. He wasn't having chest pain and he wasn't short of breath. He had an extremely anxious feeling and just couldn't settle down. He was scared. Not knowing what to do, he called his son who called 911.

Minutes later, Don suddenly stopped talking, became unconscious and turned blue. He had stopped breathing. A quick thinking rescuer hooked up a nearby AED. The rescuer had been AED trained and recognized Don's life threatening condition. Once the AED pads were placed on Don's chest, the AED analyzed Don's heart rhythm. It was recognized as a lethal arrhythmia and the AED immediately self-charged to shock Don's heart.

Once the AED was charged, the AED told the rescuer to push the shock button delivering the shock. The first shock was not successful and the AED immediately repeated the procedure and the rescuer delivered the second shock.

A few seconds later, after the second shock, Don began breathing and his skin color returned to normal. Don soon regained consciousness and immediately started questioning the rescuer of what had just happened. Don knew something serious had just happened to him, but he wasn't sure how to explain it.

The paramedics told Don that his heart had stopped beating. The AED and rescuer saved his life. Don was transported to the hospital. Cardiologists diagnosed Don as having a heart attack, and placed a stent in one of his coronary arteries. Don has lived a normal life ever since the incident. Thanks to an AED and a trained rescuer, Don continued to restore vintage cars this past winter and is looking forward to golfing this summer.

Don's story is not unusual. He was resuscitated because his heart was shocked with an AED immediately. AEDs work and should be available where ever you see a fire extinguisher.
Jim Alexander
Las Vegas security officer saves two lives in less than one year!

U.S. Air Force retiree Jim Alexander works as a security officer at Stardust Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. In less than one year, Alexander saved the lives of two casino guests: one in September 1997 and another in August 1998. In each case, Alexander used the LIFEPAK 500 AED to restart the person's heart.

As Alexander explains, "Our local medics get to our casinos quickly, but the buildings are so large and crowded sometimes it takes too long to actually reach the patient." Instead, Alexander's employer, Boyd Gaming Corp. installed AEDs in each of its seven casinos.

One shock is sometimes all it takes to restart a heart.

Alexander, one of many Boyd employees trained on the AEDs, recalls the latest incident, "We got a call that one of our guests had collapsed during a ballroom dancing contest. The man was unconscious and not breathing and bystanders had begun CPR; we immediately hooked him up to the AED, which analyzed his heart and recommended a shock. That was all it took. Before we knew it he was awake."

"I should finish the story by saying he got up and finished the contest, but that would be a bit of an exaggeration," Alexander jokes. "At least we got him feeling good enough to argue with the paramedics about going to the hospital."

"No one likes to think bad things will happen to them, but you never know... .Having AEDs at our casinos has elevated the standard of what's expected at other facilities."

Jim Alexander, security officer and AED user
Mary May
On July 17, 2004, a coincidence at the Minneapolis- St. Paul International Airport turned into a dramatic, lifesaving event. The twist of fate involved two women: Mary May, a San Francisco Bay-area resident, and Leslie Meyers, a clinical specialist with Medtronic, a medical technology company and the pioneer of defi brillation, a technique that administers a shock to a stopped heart to restore the heartbeat. The encounter began when May was waiting for her flight home to California. ?I felt my face getting very cold,? she says. ?After that, I don?t remember anything until more than a day later.? She had collapsed in sudden cardiac arrest, in which the heart beats erratically and then stops. The condition is usually fatal. At the same time, Meyers was also headed home to the Bay area on the same flight as May. As Meyers walked up to the gate, she saw a crowd gathered around May?s slumped body, and people asking, ?Ma?am, ma?am, are you OK?? Meyers instructed onlookers to get the woman
Chris Solomon Rescue

Chris Solomon arrived to his morning shift as a dispatcher with the Yorkshire Air Ambulance feeling a bit unwell. He began to develop chest pain and thankfully his colleagues were there to assess him, perform a 12-lead ECG, and identify his STEMI. This entire video is an absolute must-see but take special note of the events surrounding his cardiac arrest.


You'll note that at exactly 2:18 in the video Chris goes into a V-fib cardiac arrest. There's no giant display, he just sort of nods off. If you listen closely you can also hear agonal respirations.


As the crew lowers him to the ground you'll notice that he immediately begins posturing and displaying the kind of movements that we often associate with seizures. Even as they begin CPR his arms are still moving but make no mistake-and the medics certainly didn't hesitate-Chris is in cardiac arrest. Even through the first and second defibrillation he maintains his posturing and agonal respirations.


As we see here is not uncommon for a patient to be moving and breathing with their eyes open during a sudden cardiac arrest if high-quality CPR is started early. It is certainly unsettling to perform CPR on someone who seems to be looking at you but it happens and it means that the good-quality CPR is being performed.


This is an amazing save and these providers set a high bar for running a resuscitation, even as it catches them completely off guard in their own dispatch station.