Jim Baum: Because He Cared About His Neighbors, He Survived Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Jim Baum: Because He Cared About His Neighbors, He Survived Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Jim Baum is a good neighbor. After seeing AEDs mounted in the Chicago O’Hare Airport, he spoke to a physician friend about them. Jim decided that he should have a device in each of his three homes because the neighbors in each location were elderly.

The defibrillators Jim ordered arrived in October 2003 and sat in the corner in their boxes for a month or so. While packing to go to their condominium in Puerta Vallarta for Thanksgiving, Jim’s wife Nancy threw one of the boxes in their suitcase and didn’t give it much more thought.

A week after the Baum’s arrived in Mexico, Jim sat on the porch with a cup of coffee and opened the cardboard box with the AED in it. He wanted to see how it worked, so he screwed in the battery and started to play with it. Later that evening, he showed the device to his wife and their visitors, a dentist and a nurse. It was an interesting conversation piece. When they were done admiring the machine, Jim placed it on the dresser in the bedroom.

The next day after a walk across the beach to a nearby restaurant, Jim started to feel tired. He decided to go back to the condo to take a nap. His wife and their guests stayed behind to eat. Not long after lying down, Jim experienced a mild sensation in his chest and began to feel cold and clammy. Fortunately, his wife and their friends returned shortly afterward to the condo. When Jim heard them enter, he called for his wife and told her what was happening. She, in turn, beckoned for their guests to come into the bedroom. The dentist took Jim’s pulse and said that they needed to bring him to the hospital. As Jim began to respond that there was no need to go to the hospital and that he would be fine, his eyes rolled back and he collapsed in sudden cardiac arrest. While Nancy attempted to call 9-1-1 (which doesn’t exist in Mexico), the nurse reached over and pulled the AED off the dresser and the dentist applied it to Jim’s chest. Seventeen seconds after collapse, a shock was administered and Jim was revived. When he opened his eyes, Jim recalls thinking, "I went to sleep with these three people standing around me? How rude!"

Needless to say, the speedy response by his friends, and the presence of the AED purchased for his neighbors and put in the suitcase by his wife, saved Jim’s life.

Note: Jim Baum, a great supporter of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, passed away September 12, 2014, after a long battle with cancer. See his obituary here.

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The mission of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Foundation is to prevent death and disability from sudden cardiac arrest. The vision of the SCA Foundation is to increase awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and influence attitudinal and behavioral changes that will reduce mortality and morbidity from SCA.

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