Thanks to a Complete Stranger, I Am Part of the Six Percent

Thanks to a Complete Stranger, I Am Part of the Six Percent

Mark Kendall, Orlando, FL–46 at time of event (2015)
My name is Mark Kendall, I am a 46-year-old father of four and my cardiac arrest occurred on a hot 100 plus degree Florida afternoon on April 22, 2015 in the parking lot of a pizza restaurant. 
Without any warning at all, I went into cardiac arrest that day and collapsed onto the hot black asphalt where bystanders saw me go down and began to surround my then lifeless body. One bystander poured water on my face in an effort to revive me, thinking that maybe I had passed out because of the extreme heat that day, while another bystander called 911. During this time an investigator with the Orange County State Attorney's Office, Tony Dossett, was driving by when he saw the crowd of people gathering around my body, he drove across the center median to the parking lot and upon realizing I had no pulse, he began performing CPR  and continued doing so for approximately 15 minutes before EMS arrived,

When Orange County EMS arrived on scene, Paramedic Cindy Berry continued to do CPR for another 15-20 minutes and I had to be shocked three times before I begin responding and a pulse was detected. They immediately then transported me to Orlando Regional Medical Center, whereupon arriving in Trauma Unit 5, I went into cardiac arrest a second time, this time for 13 minutes. Dr. Stephen Leech and the ER staff at ORMC successfully revived me yet a second time and had to shock me another three times. While this was happening, my co workers arrived at the ER where they were immediately taken into a private room. The door was closed and they were left alone for 30 minutes before medical staff came in to tell them I had been taken up to the cath lab. Their only question was, "Is he alive?"

The catheterization showed an ejection fraction of 25 percent. I was taken to ICU where they induced me into a coma and began the ARCTIC sun protocol, lowering my body temperature in an effort to reduce the risk of brain damage. My family members arrived and they were told that it was unknown if I would wake up at all and that if I did wake up, what the extent of brain damage would be.

Two days later, they advised my wife and sister that they were going to begin the warm up process the following day. My sister then called my ex-wife and mother of my two adult daughters, bringing them up to speed on what was happening and relaying the medical staff's message to be prepared to possibly have to say goodbye to me if I did not respond, and that the prognosis was not promising.

However, later that night later, and on my daughter Alana's 19th birthday, I began to wake up and respond to verbal commands, answering questions by either shaking or nodding my head. My daughter later referred to that day as "the best birthday ever" because she got to see her dad alive, awake and responding.

I spent two weeks in the hospital and was discharged with a St. Jude ICD in place. I remember nothing at all of the day of my SCA, nor the first six days in the hospital. I suffered two third-degree burns on my legs from when I was unconscious in the parking lot (that was estimated to have a temperature of about 130 degrees) for about 27 minutes, as Tony and the paramedics attempted to revive me.

Approximately six percent of cardiac arrest victims outside of the hospital environment survive. I am a part of that six percent because one person in that crowd knew CPR. It goes without saying that I am eternally grateful for Tony Dossett and his actions that day. Numerous people were standing around me, but no one knew CPR or what to do. Had it not been for Tony, I would not be alive today and my four children would be without a father.

I was able to meet Tony eight weeks after my incident. I learned that his son Damon was also an SCA survivor at the age of 21, when, like me, he was saved by a stranger who happened to be in the right place at the right time. I gave Tony a bright red Superman cape, because in my eyes and those of my children and family, he is a Superhero.
By Mark Kendall
Afterword: Mark Kendall passed away from cardiac arrest in January 2017.
jzuznme's picture
jzuznme wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

I am a 6% too

So glad Mark, that Tony was there for you... My SCA is very simular to yours, only my hero was my very own husband, Lou. Over the years the Lord made sure he took plenty of CPR classes at his workplace. He was upstairs getting ready for work and I was in the kitchen downstairs with my granddaughter. I suddenly collapsed and she ran for her grandpa and called 911. Lou gave me CPR for 7 minutes until the paramedics arrive. They had to use the paddle on me at home and in the ambulance 7 times before I responded. I was treated with Hyperthermic therapy and after 24 hours I was warmed up.... My family were also told I may have suffered serious brain damage and couldn't predict my outcome. After 10 days I too left with a St Jude's ICD implanted in my chest. I remember taking my sister to lunch that day and speaking with my granddaughter, but after I collapsed I have no memory until 7 days later. It was only a few days before Christmas when this happened and after the holidays we tracked down and met, thanked and hugged the Engineer from the local fire department who didn't give up on me in that ambulance.... I frequently take him a cake or treats. Mark, you and I were blessed to have such bold men nearby to take charge and do what needed to be done. Oh, yes, and my Granddaughter and lifesaver, Jessica who went for Lou.

I am happy to hear your children didn't have to suffer the loss of their Father.

Best Wishes,
Rendi Ames

Jesus, the name above all names!

mkend0107's picture
mkend0107 wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

My Fellow Six Percenter

I often think that there's no way to describe the amount of gratitude and appreciation that we have as a cardiac arrest survivor for those who were there to save us, it has been five months now since my incident and I still get emotional sometimes when I drive past the parking lot where I went down at.

A few weeks ago I spoke to one of the deputies who responded to my incident and escorted the ambulance to the hospital as I was being transported. He told me plain and simple that very few people thought I was going to make it that day, he too says Tony is a hero, yet he is such a very humble hero.

Thank you for sharing your story with me, and for your kind words, you and I are Six Percenters, thanks to CPR and The right people being in the right place at a time we needed it the most.....

M.Kendall, Orlando , Fl

jzuznme's picture
jzuznme wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

You are Right

I have to agree with you 100%. Unless one has experienced SCA, they don't realize the deepness of graditude. I am so very appreciative of the assistance given me at the time I needed it most. There were those around who loved me, yes, but there were others who were just as determined to save my life.

I wish you and your family well.


Jesus, the name above all names!

CorunnaGuy's picture
CorunnaGuy wrote 2 years 30 weeks ago



One of the men that saved me a relative stranger at the gym I went to, who basically knew me barely by name, was screaming at me to come back. In a lot of ways I think he was more traumatized by the experience than I was as I had no memory of it! I was able to thank both the men that saved me personally after I hope that I conveyed the depth of gratitude I felt.

Pete SCA survivor Jan 24 2017

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