Below is my question and answer interview with Patrick, a man who defied the odds and is here today to tell you the importance of knowing CPR. Please feel free to leave comments and/ or questions if you have any questions or experience with SCA (Sudden Cardiac Arrest).
Fleet Feet: Patrick, give us a little background on yourself and your fitness level.
Patrick: I have to answer this in a couple ways. Prior to my Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) episode I exercised a couple times a week. Now I walk 3 to 4 miles every day and try to do sit ups frequently but I am not as disciplined there.
FF: I understand you recently had an experience where CPR was used to save your life. Can you set the scene for us?
Patrick: Well I was running at Rabbit Hill Park last July and was in week 4 of C25K training application. My Son and I where together and he completed his run and was in the cool down period. I started my app a little later so I had to run past him. Interestingly enough I was running closer to the person who first administered CPR that was running towards me.
FF: Once you went into cardiac arrest, can you describe what happened during that time? Symptoms that signaled you were having an issue?
Patrick: I had ZERO symptoms. That is the frightening thing about SCA. There is no warning. Unlike a heart attack where you feel tightness in your chest etc, SCA is more like an electrical problem in your house. The lights just go out. Unbeknownst to me, at least 3 months prior to my going into SCA I had a heart attack with no knowledge of it occurring.
FF: Who was the first to get to you and begin CPR?
Patrick: A husband and wife where running towards me and the Husband saw me fall. His wife is a Cardiac Nurse and began CPR on me within a minute of my falling the ground. A second nurse was with her daughter heard the commotion, came running from across a lake and assisted in administering chest compressions. Finally, a third person joined in to relieve the Nurses. CPR was administered for 20 Minutes. If you have not performed CPR or taken a class…. 1 minute of administering chest compressions is very strenuous. I can’t’ imagine how exhausted my Angels where.
FF: What are the statistics of surviving cardiac arrest?
Patrick: About 5 to 8 Percent. Of those survivors about 40% suffer brain damage. These numbers fall drastically for each minute that CPR or the use of an AED is not administered with each passing minute. There is about a 2 to 3 minute window of survival.
FF: Because the nurses knew CPR and were able to respond so quickly, is that why you survived?
Patrick: 100%. If these Angels where not near me at the time I fell I am certain I would not be here today. Likewise, I wouldn’t be able to answer these questions had they not been there as quickly as they were.
FF: What message would you like to share with the public, and what about this experience is so important?
Patrick: The number of people who die each year from SCA is roughly equivalent to the number who die from Alzheimers disease, assault with firearms, breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, diabetes, HIV, house fires, motor vehicle accidents, prostate cancer and suicides combined. It plays no favorites to the young or the old and nearly ½ a million people a year encounter SCA roughly 1 out of 10 survives.
FF: If someone wants to get certified in CPR, how would you suggest they go about it?
Patrick: Gwinnett County Fire Department frequently offers classes. http://www.gwinnettcounty.com/portal/gwinnett/Departments/FireandEmergencyServices/CommunityEducation/CPRTraining