Posted on 11/03/2017
Debbie and Brian Freed
2017 Nominee – Debbie Freed
Survivor – Brian Freed, Bloomington, MN, 54 at time of event (September 5, 2012)

Location of Event – Home

Prior to September of 2012 my life was typical. I was 54 years old, married, and always had an excuse as to why I had not quit smoking or gotten any exercise, except for square dancing, which I love to do.

You would think I should have feared dying from a smoking-related disease because my father died from emphysema at age 69 and my mother died from lung cancer at age 70. I had told people that I fully expected to die the same way. I was just hoping to live to 71 years old, so I could outlive my parents. It's not that I liked smoking so much, but it was more that I had tried to quit and couldn't so I figured it was my lot in life. Oh, how wrong I was!

On September 5, 2012, life as I know it changed forever and I was given a second chance, one more shot if you will. I suffered a sudden cardiac arrest at home and at that time my chances of survival were only 2-3 percent. Thanks to my wife, Debbie, who started the CPR and to a group of police officers, paramedics and the ER staff who did not give up, I am alive and doing well.

I am alive because of God. I figured out a while ago that there is a book of life and everyone's name is in it and when it's your time, you're going. I know it sounds rather simplistic and please remember that this is only my opinion. I will leave the debate over life and death to greater minds than mine.

One of the things I have carried with me since my cardiac arrest is that a friend of mine, Barb, sent me an e-mail sometime after I had woken up from my coma that said in part, “God was not ready for you and the Devil was afraid you would take over, so you came back to us.”

If you asked 100 Sudden Cardiac Arrest survivors to tell you their story you would get 100 different stories and yet there is a common theme. Most will tell you that we have spent some time “Wondering Why Me?,” but mostly we are eternally grateful for one more shot at life.

A transcript from the 911 call on Wednesday September 5, 2012, 18:30-18:33 Hours Bloomington, MN, follows.

911 Transcript

  • Dispatch: Bloomington 911
  • Answer: Yes, I just came in from watering the tree. My husband’s lying on the floor.
  • D: Okay is he injured?
  • A: I don’t know, I was outside.
  • D: Okay.
  • A: He doesn’t answer.
  • D: Okay, is he conscious?
  • A: He doesn’t seem to be, he isn’t breathing.
  • D: Okay, he’s breathing though?
  • A: Yes.
  • D: How old is your husband?
  • A: He is 54.
  • D: Okay, where in the house are you?
  • A: I’m in the kitchen, if you enter the door beside the driveway rather than the front door.
  • D: Is the door by the driveway?
  • A: Yes.
  • D: Okay, stay on the line with me, okay, I’m going to transfer you over to the ambulance, okay?
  • A: Okay.
  • Ambulance Company: Ambulance
  • Dispatch: All Right, Bloomington here, Ma’am hold off one second okay?
  • Answer: Okay.
  • D: a 54-year-old male who is lying on the floor, he’s unconscious but breathing, he’ll be in the kitchen I have his wife on the line and she said if you use the door by the driveway as opposed to the front door, that will be easier.
  • AC: Okay, hello Ma'am.
  • A: Yes.
  • AC: This is the ambulance company, tell me everything that happened.
  • A: Okay, we had just gotten home from his haircut.  I was outside getting the sprinkler on a tree in our, yard, so I was not in the house at the time.
  • AC: Okay.
  • A: I came in the house and found him lying on his back on the floor in the kitchen.
  • AC: Okay, are you with him right now?
  • A: Yes.
  • AC: How old is he?
  • A: 54.
  • AC: Is he awake?
  • A: No, he is not.
  • AC: is he breathing?
  • A: Slightly, yes.
  • AC: Okay, listen to me, this is very important okay?
  • A: Okay.
  • AC: Tell me every time he takes a breath.
  • A: Okay.
  • AC: Okay, starting now. Did he breathe at all ma'am?
  • A: No, he did not.
  • AC: Okay, we need to get him on his back right now.
  • A: Yeah, he's on his back.
  • AC: Okay, I'm going to walk you through CPR, okay?
  • A: Okay.
  • AC: is there a defibrillator available?
  • A: No.
  • AC: Okay, All right I need you to kneel next to him, okay?
  • A: Okay.
  • AC: I need you to look for anything in his mouth. Is there anything in his mouth?
  • A: No.
  • AC: Now place your hand in the center of his chest and put your other hand on top of the first then you will push down firmly two inches with the heel of your lower hand touching the chest.
  • A: Okay.
  • AC: Okay, now listen carefully, pump the chest hard and fast, at least twice per second, we're gonna do this until help arrives and we do have help on the way.
  • A: Okay.
  • AC: All right ma'am, begin, count out loud for me
  • A: 3,4,5................44, 45,46
  • AC: you're doing a good job, keep going, you're helping him. Ma'am?
  • A: Yes
  • AC: Are you still doing it?
  • A: Yes, I am.
  • AC: Okay, count out loud for me
  • A: 1,2,3........13, they're here, 14, 15...
  • AC Are they there?
  • A: Yes.
  • AC: Okay, continue until they take over for you.
  • End of call

At 18:33 hours, the first police officer arrived with an AED. The ambulance with paramedics was dispatched at 18:32. By 18:37 I had the paramedics, three police officers and a supervisor from Alina. When the first officer arrived, they took over the CPR and when everyone was there they took over, using a combination of CPR, the (defibrillator pads), and the Lucas Machine to get my heart beating again.

One of the police officers had Debbie outside and by then our neighbors had come over to see what the excitement was.

It's not every day that we have three police cars and an ambulance at someone's house on our block. Debbie was also a little worried about our two cats and whether they would get out. It turns out they were hiding in the basement.

Now, Debbie’s Mom, had come over to drive her to the hospital and my church had been notified and they were sending someone from the staff to the hospital.

Debbie tells me she had no idea how much time was spent on me (as it turns out it was about 20 minutes) but at some point, she heard someone in the house yell: “I've got a pulse.” She tells me she was happy to hear that.

At 18:58 hours, I was loaded into the ambulance for the three-mile ride to Fairview Southdale Hospital.

We pulled in at 19:09. My heart was very weak, but I was still alive.

Nominated by Brian Freed