Posted on 11/29/2021
Eric Jacob
Eric Jacob

Survivor: David Jacob

Date of Event:

Location of Event: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Eric Jacob

I am a professional land surveyor by trade and was 45 years old at the time of my sudden cardiac arrest. I have a home office just outside of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, in a little unincorporated place called Lamartine.

On the morning of June 13th, 2016, I returned home from a work meeting that I had in town. I think it was around 10 am. Being the middle of June, both of my sons were home from school on summer vacation. My 12-year-old was in his bedroom. My 16-year-old, Eric, was in the living room. As I was heading to my office downstairs, I stopped in the living room to see what Eric was watching on TV.

At that time, Eric said I simply said “ouch” and fell flat on the floor. I was unconscious and not breathing. Eric quickly called 911 at which point he started CPR on me with coaching from the 911 operator. Eric continued CPR on me until first responders showed up and started working on me. Eventually, a sheriff’s deputy arrived with an AED, followed by EMTs.

From what I was told, they worked on me for nearly an hour, including using the AED several times, and using an automatic chest compressor and intraosseous infusion in my leg before being able to transport me to St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac.

Once I was there, they put me in an induced coma with therapeutic hypothermia. I was brought out of this state two days later, which is the first thing I remembered since looking at the TV screen in the living room when I collapsed two days earlier.

Everyone was worried when I woke up, being afraid that I may have brain injuries from the event. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when I was asked if I wanted something to drink and replied that I will take mine with cherries.

I was then told by doctors and my family what had happened. It was hard to believe. I was then transported to Froedtert Medical Center in Milwaukee, where I underwent a regimen of tests. The results were largely inconclusive regarding the cause of my SCA. I was in good health and never had heart issues in the past. The doctors opted to put an ICD in my chest as a safeguard and to keep track of what my heart was doing. I was released from Froedtert five days after my SCA. 

I am lucky that my son, Eric, was in the living room the morning that this happened to me. Had it not been summer vacation, my kids would have been at school, and I would have been home alone. Had Eric been in his room working on his computer as he often is, I would have been found too late.

His quick response--calling 911 and performing CPR--is directly responsible for me beating the odds by not only surviving but surviving without any traumatic brain injuries or side effects. That is a lot of pressure for a 16-year-old, or anybody for that matter.

Thank you, Eric, for being there and thank you to all the first responders and EMTs in the Lamartine area, along with all the medical professionals at St. Agnes and Froedtert, who helped to save my life.

Nominated by David Jacob