2015 Nominee – Scott Bertolotto
Survivor – Alysha Bertolotto, Custer, South Dakota, 37 (September 21, 2014)
Location of event – Home
I believe my husband is worthy of the People Saving People Award because he's a great example of an everyday Joe, who could and should know what to do in the event of an emergency.
I have a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and so I have an ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) because I'm at high-risk for sudden cardiac arrest. This protection also gave us the false security that it would take care of me if needed.
The morning of September 21, 2014 was no different than a normal Sunday morning. Usually, during the rest of the week I would have been home alone at 7:30 am, as my son and husband would have been off to school and work. I have no memory of this particular morning, so this is what I know from others telling the story.
I woke up at 7:22 am. My husband got up said, "Are you getting in the shower for church?" I said "Yes." He went outside with the dog. No one knows what exactly took place in the next five minutes or so but he came back back in right away, luckily, and I was on the couch and appeared to be passed out.
He yelled for my son to come and help. He was shaking me and waiting for me to respond. My 15-year-old son had the presence of mind to check my pulse, even though I was making gasping noises, which seems crazy to me because coming from the medical field, if someone was making noise I don't think I would have thought check for a pulse. He did, and found nothing, so he told his dad, "She has no pulse." So my husband immediately called 911.
The dispatcher told my husband, "You have to start CPR." My husband continued to shake me and told her he didn't know how to help, since he was waiting for my ICD to shock me. She finally got him to get me to the floor. He started CPR and for continued for 20 to 25 minutes, until the ambulance showed up with the Lucas machine, which was used until I got to the ER.
My husband deserves this award because he is my hero for sure. He had not had a CPR class in 20 years and he saved me because of my son's quick thinking and dispatcher's calm, but adamant instructions. He never stopped for nearly half an hour. That takes great strength and dedication. I was put into a hypothermic coma for two days and woke up and have no lasting brain damage from it.
It's a miracle from God and my husband and son's critical thinking and the great dispatcher that I'm here today because we all know that the statistics were not in my favor at all.
Nominated by Alysha Bertolotto