Posted on 11/27/2021

Survivor: Jason Gagnon

Date of Event:

Location of Event: Corona, California

Jackie Lansing
Shawna Rimke
Kathleen McGavaran
Noah Ritter
Cari Lee Smith
Ryan Cortez

I serve as Congressman Ken Calvert’s Senior Advisor and work out of our District Office, which is located inside Corona City Hall. On November 4, 2019, I was at my desk working on the computer. Without any warning I felt an odd sensation in my head, my vision kind of narrowed, and I generally recall thinking to myself “this is not good” before things went completely black for me.

My coworker, Jackie Lansing, who sits in the workspace next to me apparently heard an odd noise come from where I sit and asked me what it was. When I didn’t respond she looked over and found me passed out in my chair. She alerted the rest of the office staff, who quickly sprung into action.

After my co-worker Kathleen McGavaran called 9-1-1 for help, they told them to get me out of my chair and onto the floor. At some point after I was on the floor, I started to look a little blue so our intern, Noah Ritter, who was trained in CPR, began to perform chest compressions.

While this was taking place, some of our staff members went out and scattered around the first floor of city hall to find assistance. My co-worker Shawna Rimke found Cari Lee Smith, a city volunteer who also volunteers with the fire department. When Cari arrived, she helped our intern in giving CPR compressions but quickly realized that they needed a defibrillator.

She sprinted off to secure one of the AED devices from the first floor lobby. While this was taking place, Ryan Cortez, who works for the city up on the third floor received an alert on his phone from the PulsePoint app. While Ryan rushed downstairs to respond, Cari and our intern administered the first AED shock. After he arrived, Ryan administered a second AED shock, after which I started to regain consciousness.

Shortly thereafter the Corona Fire Department arrived. Ryan was able to explain to the firemen exactly what had transpired as well as brief them on the AED readings. I was then off in an ambulance to Riverside Community Hospital. The doctors ultimately determined that I experienced a fast heart rate arrythmia that sent me into sudden cardiac arrest. I had an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) device put in and am now back to work.

Every time I retold my story to the various doctors I saw in the hospital, each one remarked how fortunate I was to be near an AED device and people trained to use it.

Submitted by Jason Gagnon