Survivor Stories

Survivor Stories

Master Swimmers Don't Die…

Brian Duffield, Tucson, AZ – 40 at time of event (2006)

Brian Duffield

Brian is a member of a US Masters Swimmer group. There are about 40 of them in Tucson that get together regularly and swim their hearts out at the University of Arizona pool. On this particular Tuesday morning Brian nearly did! About half way into the session he didn’t feel at all well, and got out of the pool with an unusual fatigue. He decided to finish for the day and shower. That was when his chin hit the floor. He doesn’t know anything about it as he was unconscious at the time. Luckily, a young man witnessed the fall and raised the alarm.

Floods & Mudslides Teaching the Importance of First-Responders

Leigh McGown Kauffman, Glenwood Springs, CO – 41 at time of event (2011) The Kauffman Family

It happened suddenly, as Vtac does, at 11:00pm on Wednesday night.

Serena noticed it happening, I ran upstairs, found her grey and unresponsive, and started CPR immediately, while Serena and Rhiannon called 911. I continued CPR for around 13 minutes (documented by the emergency call to ambulance arrival time) until EMS arrived.

I Have an Avenue to Tell My Story that Most People Don't

Susan Koeppen, Pittsburgh, PA – 39 at time of event (2011)

Susan KoeppenAs a news anchor on Pittsburgh’s KDKA TV, Susan Koeppen is used to reporting the news. But on November 20, 2011, she made news when she suffered sudden cardiac death near her home in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood.

A Nightmare For Thanksgiving?

Kathie Reilly, Flagstaff, AZ – 33 at time of event (2008)

Kathie Reilly What started as a normal Tuesday evening became a nightmare before the night was out. Kathie and her husband went to bed, watched bit of FoodNetwork TV and chatted about the day. Around 10:30 pm Scott woke to an odd sound. Kathie doesn’t snore, but she was making strange noises, and yet she appeared asleep. She did not seem conscious at all, and wasn't breathing. As a Flagstaff Sheriff’s deputy he was trained as a first-responder, so he tried a sternum rub to wake Kathie up—to no effect.

Fillling My Own Cup First

Anne Jennison, Lee, NH – 55 at time of event (2010)

Anne Jennison It was exam time, a stressful period for teachers as well as students. Anne had survived the 50-minute commute and was in her second class of the morning when she died. She was sitting at her desk while the high school freshmen finished their tests. Her face hit the table top and a couple of alert students rushed over to stop Anne from falling off her chair. They could see she was not conscious.

Not Ready to Be With God

Mike Connolly, Vista, CA – 56 at time of event (2009)

name Breakfast was spoiled early one Saturday morning. Loris, Mike’s wife, heard a strange sound and came looking for Mike. She had been getting ready for work, and was surprised to see her husband unconscious in his lounge chair with a cereal bowl beside him. Mike was not breathing, but there was no way Loris could do anything about it—despite knowing CPR. He’s 6’8” and over 250lbs, she’s only 5’1” and l00lbs. She just couldn’t budge him off the chair!

Renewing That YMCA Membership?

Dan Grecoe, Andover, MA – 42 at time of event (2011)

It all started with a skiing accident. Knee surgery meant Dan was sidelined from all the sports activity he enjoyed. Finally he’d been given the green light to get back to running. Early Monday morning in September he went to the local YMCA with a friend to get back in shape. Just a little jogging on the treadmill, maybe some weights. Except they didn’t get that far.

Was it That Last Hill?

Ken Coutts, Tugun, Australia – 54 at time of event (2008)  

Survivor Reunited with his "Angels"

Tod Streets, Philadelphia, PA--56 at the time of event (2012)

In a touching and extraordinary reunion in mid-January, a Philadelphia man finally met the Septa manager and nurse who saved his life.

When Tod Streets collapsed in cardiac arrest while waiting for his Septa train at the 30th Street Station two weeks ago, it was two strangers who came to his rescue.

Only CBS 3 cameras were there as Streets met Septa Manager Garry Deans and nurse Jeanne Pundt who came to visit him at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

During the emotional reunion, with hugs and tears, the two rescuers told Streets, who remembers nothing about the incident, how they spotted him as he collapsed on the platform.

They said Streets fell dangerously close to the track, where his rush-hour train was approaching.

He Made It Through The Worst Part

Alastair Ruddick, Ponoka, Alberta Canada – 54 at time of event (2009)

Alastair Ruddick Alastair and his brother, John, own a sports lounge and it was time that Wednesday evening to get a game up on the big screen. Bill was standing next to Alastair as they were looking for a hockey game on the TV. That’s when it happened.
“My brother said I took a depth breath, then a sigh, and just fell over dead!” Alastair related. “[He] called 9-1-1 while Bill ‘stood there and shook like a little girl’."

Within what seemed like seconds two EMTs arrived and began CPR. They had been at the gym next door and heard the call come in on their radios. They beat the ambulance by minutes!

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