Survivor Stories

Survivor Stories

This Sailor Didn't Die, And Now Saves Lives

Paul Rittenhouse, Northport, NY – 45 at time of event (2005)

One warm Friday summer afternoon, Paul was on his way to get a new gadget for his sailboat. He’d just revitalized a 22 foot Ensign sailboat and needed a tension gauge to check the mainstays. He didn’t make it. Instead he crashed the car. It wasn’t exactly his fault, he was clinically dead at the time he collided with a tree on the side of the road, just outside the fire station and opposite a supermarket. The impact was not enough to deploy the airbags, but it did total his Jeep. Paul doesn’t have any recollection of the accident, nor much of the week in hospital afterwards. He knows what happened because he stays in contact with the witness who saved his life.

The Freshest Breath Of All

Tara Heinle, Rapid City, SD – 34 at time of event (2008)

Tara & Todd Heinle Tara and her husband, Todd, were taking a little time out after their summer vacation, and prior to the in-laws arriving for a visit. Luckily, they were at home that Wednesday morning.
Tara had just brushed her teeth, and was preparing for the morning shower. There was a noise, and her husband asked “What fell?” He got no answer and proceeded to investigate. Todd saw Tara on the floor of the bathroom. She had a certain look about her, and despite her being his wife, the look was familiar to him.
“My husband is a police officer and he said, ‘I’ve seen that look before,” and he started CPR right away.” First, he called 9-1-1.

The Treadmill Doesn't Stop

Mark Storace, Rocklin, CA – 46 at time of event (2007)

Mark StoraceIt was just another Tuesday afternoon in August. I am lucky enough in my job to be able to telecommute from home once a week. It was a fairly busy day taking conference call meetings and working on project tasks.

An Ironman After All

Scott Berens, Austin, TX – 27 at time of event (2008)

 Scott & Amanda BerensScott has the nickname ironman because he was continually partaking in extreme sports and athletic activities. Well, Scott can now truly live up to the name; he has a bionic addition. It was not by choice, and might even cramp his style a little, not that he would willingly let that happen of course. You see he recently had an ICD fitted under his pectoral muscle. It is there to protect him from another cardiac arrest. He is one of the lucky few to have survived his first one.

A Lucky Women Saved by Women of Influence & Inspiration

Cathy Hall, Ontario, Canada– 44 at time of event (2005)

Cathy Hall In an effort to prevent a hotel reservation penalty, Cathy lived to actually stay in hospital. She had a terrible ache in her jaw and wanted to cancel the business trip. However the hotel would not accept the late cancellation. Cathy is so very glad her economic conscience forced her to attend the conference, because they had a defibrillator in that government building. Her intention to save her employer a hotel charge ended up saving her life instead!

A Happy Ending Song Man

Bill Isles, Duluth, MN – 41 at time of event (1993)

Bill Isles

Memorial day 1993, Bill went to sleep with a slight chest pain. It was nothing to worry about; he’d been practicing hurdles with his high-school track-star daughter that day and must have pulled a muscle. A few days later the pain returned, after a run. By the end of the week he didn’t feel healthy at all, and wandered into the local Walgreens to check his condition on their free blood-pressure machine. It was OK, but he decided to go home and lie down for while, instead of returning to the office.

An Inconvenient Beat

Sarah Zammett, Matoaca, VA, – 42 at time of event (2008)

Sarah ZammettSarah was saved in a house of God. It was her family’s church for generations; in fact her Great Grandfather founded the church in the 1880s. Sarah and her daughters were attending the first service that Sunday morning in April. “It was after the service, most everyone had gone, and my girls had gone on to Sunday school.” Sarah said she had stayed behind to discuss a new software program they were using for the services. “We were just standing around talking and I dropped.” Her pastor, who has many years experience as an EMT, and the local coach who teaches CPR, did not hesitate to act. Someone else called 9-1-1.

Illustration of a Perfect Save

Maxwell King, Latrobe, PA – 61 at time of event (November 1, 2006)

It was a chilly fall day in Pittsburgh. Maxwell King was walking from his home in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood to a meeting of foundation leaders at the Carnegie Museum of Art. As president of the Heinz Endowments and chairman of the national Council on Foundations, he had a lot of things on his mind. His impending death was not one of them.

He's No April Fool

Bradford Summers, Orlando, FL – 49 at time of event (2008)

Bradford Summers Brad Summers is a highly trained emergency flight nurse. It is not uncommon for him to emergently transport cardiac and trauma patients to hospitals designed to provide the highest level of care. He knows all about cardiac emergencies (Code Stemi’s), and knows the telltale signs.

It was April 1st, and Brad was at the gym exercising, when he realized he was in trouble. “I experienced sudden onset of left-sided chest pain, radiating up into the neck and jaw, and down the left arm, with left arm numbness.”

Serendipity or God's Grace?

Kevin McCullen, Richland, WA – 52 at time of event (2008)  - now DECEASED

Kevin McCullen

A nuclear hazard, a pet sitter and an anonymous bystander all conspired to save Kevin. Without the nearby Hanford Nuclear reservation, Brad Jackson, a hazardous materials training instructor, would not have been driving by. We don’t know anything about the bystander, except that it was their call that brought the EMTs. The bystander, however, didn’t do anything else! And the pet sitter? Well, she was able to identify the victim, by recognizing the dog of course!

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