A CPR training class, and a co-worker's quick actions, made all the difference in saving the life of a Middle Tennessee man.
Lee Dedmon doesn't remember much about May 18, 2012.
"I don't even remember going to work that day," Dedmon said.
He slumped over his desk after going into cardiac arrest and wasn't responding.
"He was blue in the lips and ears. We were checking for a pulse and trying to get a response from him," said Dedmon's co-worker, Toby Cooper.
Cooper worked down the hall and, along with another co-worker, began CPR.
"It seemed unreal. I was scared, but something just told me inside, 'Just do it,'" Cooper said.
Just a year earlier, Cooper took a CPR training class, never thinking he'd put his skills to use.
Those skills made all the difference, according to first responder Michael Wallace.
"I think it's highly likely that he wouldn't be here today if it hadn't been for actions they took. If he was here, he might have not had a meaningful life," said Wallace, EMS Operations Manager for Williamson Medical Center.
Wallace says everyone can be a first responder, and doctors agree. Time is critical in a case like Dedmon's.
"As soon as CPR is started, the chances of someone living, surviving an event, chances go up dramatically," said Dr. Keith Churchwell, with the American Heart Association and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "If you don't start CPR, if you wait for EMS to arrive, your chances are significantly lower."
Dedmon said he knows he's lucky.
He had a heart condition that worsened over time. Since his scare at work, he's had a heart and lung transplant, and is now doing very well.
He's back on the job at AT&T and even found time to learn CPR, just in case someone else needs help.
"If it does happen in a situation where someone needs it, I know I'd be able to help," Dedmon said.
In fact everyone who works on Dedmon's entire floor is now CPR certified.
You can get certified, too. It's easy, and keep in mind you can help by just using hands-only CPR. That's just chest compressions, no mouth-to-mouth breathing.
For more information on training sessions in Middle Tennessee, visit: http://ahainstructornetwork.americanheart.org/AHAECC/classConnector.jsp?pid=ahaecc.classconnector.home.
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