“He’s gone!” exclaimed Tim to his brother Mark as their 65-year-old father, Howard, slowly collapsed at the foot of the steps of their home in Binghamton on St. Patrick’s Day.
Mark was getting ready to do some yard work for a neighbor, while Tim was helping their father to the car on the way to a doctor’s appointment. When Howard reach the last step, he appeared to stop breathing, his eyes rolled back in his head and his legs gave way. That is when Tim cried for help and asked Mark to call 9-1-1. Even as Mark relayed the emergency information to the dispatcher using his cell phone, his American Red Cross CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) training was coming back to him. His training was partially funded by United Way of Broome County as part of its yearly support of Red Cross health and safety services.
As their father lay in the driveway, Mark started administering CPR chest compressions after moving his father’s tongue over to one side. Mark would blow air into his father’s lungs followed by more compressions. Finally, Howard resumed breathing, although very weakly, but his was alive.
When the EMTs arrives, they gave oxygen to Howard and headed straight for the nearest hospital with Mark in the ambulance and his brother following behind in the car. At the hospital the doctors took charge and within an hour Howard was conscious and could remember what he had for breakfast and what medications he had taken that morning.
Five years earlier Mark attended a Red Cross CPR course provided by his employer. “Really, this is a question we could all ask ourselves: ‘Am I ready–do I know what to do in case of an emergency?’ It could change your life and the life of someone else,” he said.
(Names and other information may have been changed to protect privacy.)