Posted by SCAFoundation on 06/15/2018
Rescuers Samantha Balaj, left, and Samantha Dyer, right, with survivor Frantzi Schaub
Rescuers Samantha Balaj, left, and Samantha Dyer, right, with survivor Frantzi Schaub

Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.” The Bard may have been right, but Frantzi Schaub took him a bit too literally.

The Slippery Rock University drama major was entrenched in an acting class exercise designed to teach the radiating and receiving of energy to/from other students. Each student sat facing a classmate, looking deeply into each other’s eyes. During the exercise, Frantzi fell to the floor and remained motionless, which gave some of his classmates the feeling that he may be a tad bit overdramatic. Those students misread the situation. Frantzi wasn’t hamming it up; he had suffered sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Frantzi said in an interview at the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community where he was walking with the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation team, “(The other students) just kept on with the exercise. They thought I was just being dramatic.  I’m not dramatic.”  Then after a perfectly timed dramatic pause, he continued, “OK, I’m a little dramatic.”

Luckily, the Haitian born, Beaver County resident was saved by some quick action by a pair of Sams that turned out to be better than a full house.   

Frantzi’s close friends Samantha Dyer and Samantha Balaj – who also walked for the SCA team - were both in the class and both were trained in CPR.  Once they realized that this was no act, they took the life-saving steps necessary to rescue a person in this all-too-often fatal situation. Ms. Dyer was the first to realize that something was rotten in the state of SRU.

“When we stopped the scene and got up on the stage,” she said, “I saw how cramped up his body was… and ran screaming his name and he wasn’t getting up.” That is when Sam Balaj took the reigns.

 “(She) dialed the university police and threw the phone to me,” Sam Dyer continued),…(and got) down on the ground and started compressions.” 

The quick action by the Sams was even more crucial because there was no defibrillator on site.

“I told my teacher to get one,” Ms. Balaj said, “but he said there were none in the building. We had to wait for a (first responder) to show up with one.” 

That happened about five minutes later when university police officer Trevor Buckley arrived with the life-saving device and shocked the young man’s heart back to a steady sinus rhythm. Then a trip to the hospital where doctor’s installed an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to assure a safer future.

And what about Frantzi? What is his take on the events of that day? Like the vast majority of survivors he has none.

“I woke up in the hospital with random doctors and nurses around me and what they said was that I died. I didn’t know how,” he said.

But what the young man will always remember is that he is alive today due the quick thinking and life-saving training of two very good friends. And you have to believe that all’s well that ends well.

By A.J. Caliendo

Read more about Frantzi's case here.

Support Frantzi's GoFundMe page here.