Posted on 06/06/2014
People Saving People Award

Sue Hostler of Pittsburgh, PA, has been named recipient of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation’s 2014 People Saving People Award for saving the life of Robert Hallinan, 25, when he collapsed suddenly from cardiac arrest at an airport last summer. Hostler, a business traveler, recognized the emergency, called 911, and performed chest compressions until EMS arrived.

Bystander intervention often means the difference between life and death for victims of sudden cardiac arrest. The Foundation’s People Saving People™ award honors 'ordinary' people with extraordinary spirits who help save the lives of SCA victims. The purpose of the award is to increase awareness about the critical need for bystanders to help in sudden cardiac emergencies.

Hostler was nominated for the award by Hallinan, who wrote:

“On August 22, 2013 at 3:04 pm, I entered an elevator in Terminal F of the Philadelphia International Airport. Sue witnessed this as she was running to catch the elevator with me. The doors closed and she waited for the elevator to return. To Sue's surprise, when the elevator door opened, I lay there face down and unconscious. Sue immediately called 911 and summoned help from a passerby to turn my lifeless body over. She determined that I was not breathing and did not have a pulse present, so she initiated CPR. Sue would do CPR by herself for the next 17 minutes until the fire department ambulance arrived. Upon arrival, the EMS crew delivered two shocks via an AED before transporting me to the hospital. I credit my survival solely to Sue Hostler and feel strongly that I would not be here today had it not been for her quick and calm actions that afternoon. Sue is my guardian angel and I owe my life to her. She deserves to be recognized as a hero for her performance.”

Choosing a winner for the award proved to be a daunting task. “There were so many outstanding, inspirational nominations for this year’s award,” said Mary Newman, president of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. “Everyone is a winner when bystanders get involved to help save lives. But this case stood out since it involved a layperson who had heard through the media about the importance of continuous chest compressions and who had the courage to help a stranger and give CPR for an extended period of time.”

“I am humbled by this award,” said Hostler. “I simply did what anyone should do. I gave a few minutes of my life to help save another life.”

The award was presented at the Citizen CPR Foundation’s Emergency Cardiovascular Care Update in Las Vegas on June 6.

To read more about this case, click here.

To read about other nominations, click here.