A charity golf tournament turned into an experience like no other for a foursome from Nascentia Health. They saved a man’s life with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Suezette Van Horn, Maria Giannino, Beth Lord, and Patrick Forget were playing golf at Rogues Roost Golf Club in Bridgeport to raise money for The Kara Fund, a nonprofit that strives to enhance the quality of life for children with life-threatening diseases. They were heading back to the course after lunch when Giannino noticed something was wrong.
“I saw a young man standing by his cart and he had this elderly man slumped over and he was trying to do the Heimlich maneuver,” said Giannino. “I didn’t even think, I just drove right over to them.” The older man was unconscious after choking on a hot dog.
“It was calm,” said Van Horn. “We all went into a mode.” The foursome took action, with each of them handling a different role. Giannino started CPR, taking turns doing compressions with Van Horn. Lord took over the 911 call from a family member in shock. Forget helped control the crowd, checked for a pulse, and counted breaths. The man’s grandson worked on keeping the airway clear during CPR.
“It felt like forever,” said Van Horn. It took several minutes and a lot of work to clear enough food out of the man’s mouth. Giannino and Van Horn continued CPR until he was breathing again.
“Once he started breathing, we all kind of took a breath of our own,” said Giannino.
That night, the man was put into a medically induced coma, but the next day, he was up, alert, and talkative. He needed medical treatment to clear his lungs.
Giannino and Van Horn are both nurses, certified in CPR. Patrick Forget, a telehealth analyst, and Beth Lord, a payroll manager, were certified in the past.
“It was shock. Here we are trying to play golf and a medical emergency arises.” Forget said. He called the man’s grandson a rock star and an everyday hero for the work he did.
“I just went into my instincts,” said Lord. “We worked as a team and kept calm…I just prayed to God that he would survive, and his family would be able to see him again.”
All four of these Heartsaver Heroes stressed the importance of learning CPR. It is usually used during cardiac arrest when a patient’s heart stops. However, when any choking victim no longer responds, you should start chest compressions and rescue breaths to help keep oxygen circulating.
“It doesn’t matter how much training you have; you don’t know how you will respond,” said Forget. “But without training, you won’t respond. Without training, I don’t know if any of us would respond.”
For more details on CPR, including a video demonstrating Hands-Only CPR, visit cpr.heart.org.