Inspiring StoriesFeeling abnormally tired, Rex, age 60, crawled into bed early. When his wife, Marcia, noticed he wasn’t breathing, she thought he was choking. After checking for a pulse (there wasn’t one), she immediately dialed 911 and started CPR.

Marcia learned CPR when the couple’s kids were young. Although she’d never had to use it, she kept up her training. Incredibly, Marcia had just taken a refresher course two weeks earlier.

The police arrived in minutes, but Marcia was doing such a good job she continued CPR until the fire department showed up with a defibrillator. Rex was rushed to the hospital, where his body was cooled to prevent swelling of the brain.

Fortunately, Rex’s community participated in Take Heart America’s coordinated response to cardiac arrest. He made a neurological and physical recovery and went back to work as a vice president of faculty relations. Today, Rex is a professor at St. Cloud State University – and still very, very grateful to Marcia.

Dr. Scott Davis, MD, FCCP, FCCM
Medical Director, ICU, St. Cloud Hospital

Inspiring Stories“Hospitals within Take Heart America are interested in being on the leading edge of care, not the bleeding edge. We choose processes, protocols and technologies based on several criteria. Each new strategy under consideration must meet an unfulfilled need that will improve patient outcomes. It must be something that will save lives by reducing mortality among patients. Lastly, it must balance cost versus gain. Take Heart America hospitals produce quality outcomes for people that increase the value of care to the hospital and community. This keeps our hospitals on the leading edge of care.”

Steve Dunn, PhD

Inspiring StoriesSteve was refereeing a hockey game when he started feeling strange and unable to stand. As a 50-year-old lifelong athlete with low blood pressure and an occasional heart arrhythmia, he sometimes felt lightheaded during tough workouts, but this was something different. With no history of heart trouble and sure that his arteries were clear, Steve thought this was an anomaly that would pass.

He made it through the game and a shower afterwards. Behind the wheel, he came to a fork in the road and decided to head to the ER instead of home. He collapsed in the lobby of the hospital, where medical personnel repeatedly shocked him back to life with a defibrillator. Fortunately, Steve made a full recovery.

Three years later while lifting weights, Steve experienced the same strange sensation. He drove directly to the ER, but went into cardiac arrest navigating the hospital parking lot. He plowed into a snow bank, which caught the attention of a police officer who quickly started CPR.

Steve returned to his job as a university professor ten days later – this time with an internal defibrillator in his chest. The life-saving device shocks his heart out of arrhythmias a couple of times annually, keeping Steve alive.

A university professor, entrepreneur and world traveler, Steve speaks to groups regularly about his remarkable story, how to recognize cardiac arrests and the importance of learning CPR. It’s not unusual for Steve to attend a conference and ask where defibrillators are housed in hotels, schools and businesses.

With a few modifications to his travel destinations and athletic endeavors, Steve lives a full and productive life. He’s lived to see his three sons enter the medical profession – as a physician, medical student and dental school student.

Officer Bryan Platz
of Coon Rapids, MN

Inspiring Stories“I do CPR because I am fighting to give you another day with your husband, your wife, your parents, your friend, your child.

“I teach CPR so YOU can fight to give yourself another day with your husband, your wife, your parents, your friend, your child. As a police officer, I am sick and tired of responding to death scenes. Sadly, 97% of all victims die while waiting for the help to arrive.

“I teach CPR because the first three minutes of cardiac arrest are the most critical to survival. By the time EMS arrives, it is almost always too late. It is up to you, the bystander, to take action and start compression-only CPR. Do not worry about breaths, we will take care of that when we get there with the proper equipment. Rely on the lifesaving tools you have at your disposal… YOUR HANDS!

“Don’t wait for the help; be the help. By doing compression-only CPR, you are providing that person’s brain with the oxygen necessary to keep it functional until the arrival of EMS. You are pumping that heart and making it beat with just your hands. Think of that person as doing nothing more than holding their breath. You are quadrupling that person’s chance of survival simply by doing compression-only CPR. Remember who you are fighting for… 70% of cardiac arrests occur in the home and it is the number one killer in the workplace. Who is it most likely you will see go down? Are you prepared?”


Inspiring storiesAs a truck stop manager in the Midwest, Bob had just finished clearing snow and ice away from the pumps and was warming lunch inside the convenience store. He suddenly got a blank look on his face and collapsed. Bob had no history of heart trouble and had been given a clean bill of health just months earlier by his family physician.

Two alert customers saw Bob topple, started CPR and called 911. The police arrived within five minutes with a defibrillator, followed by an ambulance, which rushed him to a participating Take Heart America hospital. He was immediately treated with cooling technology.

After eight days in the hospital, Bob left with an internal defibrillator and a new lease on life. Within a few months, Bob was back on the job. He also learned CPR and became an advocate for teaching others the technique. He speaks and teaches at high schools, businesses, places of worship and community groups. Last year alone, Bob trained over 3,300 people in CPR.

“There is no better feeling than learning that someone you trained saved a life,” said Bob. That happened twice last year when teenagers saved their 17-year-old friend after he was electrocuted, and when a church parishioner was shocked back to life by a defibrillator.

Bob is grateful for every new day. He shares his good fortune with his wife, Mary, three children and three grandchildren.

Ryan Cohee, EMT, ED-QA
of Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, MI

Inspiring Stories“As the Oakland County Sheriff’s fire and EMS dispatch coordinator, I firmly believe that there should be a standard of care for 911 emergency dispatch. The data-driven feedback from our 911 dispatcher-assisted CPR and defibrillator protocols continue to assist us in improving cardiac arrest outcomes. As a result, we’re saving more lives. Take Heart America helps dispatchers develop and implement a highly effective standard of care.”

Denny & Ryan

Inspiring StoriesA father of three, Ryan thought it was a good idea to learn CPR now that his son was in Little League. Eight days later, he put that training into action during an adult softball tournament. Teammate Denny collapsed while shaking hands with the opposing team after a game. Seeing that Denny was unresponsive, Ryan started compression-only CPR until the paramedics arrived with a defibrillator. Denny was shocked multiple times with a defibrillator while being transported to the ambulance.

The next morning, Ryan picked up the phone to a grateful Denny on the other end of the line. Fresh training and quick application of CPR played a big role in Denny’s survival with full neurological functioning.

Jim Logan, BS, EMT-P I/C
COO, Paragon Medical Education Group

Inspiring Stories“Take Heart America is a great way to put all the pieces in place to assist committees in increasing cardiac arrest survival rates. There is no ‘sliver bullet.’ Take Heart America allows communities, EMS, fire departments, law enforcement and those in mainstream healthcare to share what works. Synergy of processes and procedures is energy and, as research and data of bundled cardiac arrest treatment modalities point to, increase survival rates. Take Heart America is the perfect platform to bring us all together.”