Preparation saves the day

AED at home and CPR training help save one grateful father

Most private vacation homes don’t come equipped with an automated external defibrillator (AED). But for Gina’s family, the forward-thinking decision to install one made all the difference on one sunny afternoon.

Gina*, a 32-year-old clinical researcher from Germany, and her friend were visiting with Gina’s parents at their vacation home in Turkey in June 2017, when her father, Markus*, began experiencing symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

“He was outside with my friend showing her his new pool robot when she suddenly screamed my name. My father was no longer able to walk and was weak in the knees. He was totally pale and sweating,” recalls Gina.

At first, Gina thought her father was dehydrated and had him sit down. As his heart rate skyrocketed close to 200 beats per minute, however, Gina realized that Markus was in real trouble. Just then, his eyes rolled back in his head and he began to make strange noises. Gina yelled to her friend to grab the AED and told her mother to call an ambulance.

A very personal save

Markus, 67, had experienced heart problems in the past, so the family had an AED on site. And Gina had taken an emergency response course. As her father collapsed, Gina’s training kicked in. She lay Markus down and checked for a pulse and breathing. Finding none, she and her friend attached the ZOLL® AED pads to her father’s chest. The device advised CPR and gave feedback as she and her mother took turns doing compressions, telling them to push harder to provide effective care.

“We spend every second as a family celebrating that we are together.”

– Gina, SCA victim’s daughter

“My father came back after 45 compressions, I believe. I did not count, although it felt like four hours! He asked who I was, but seconds afterwards he could recall that I was his daughter,” says Gina.

By the time the ambulance arrived a few minutes later, Markus was in recovery position and able to talk.

Back to normal

After his SCA experience, Markus returned home to Germany and had several stents and a cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implanted. Gina reports that he’s back in the pool and feeling safer than ever.

How does Gina feel, having saved her father’s life? “It is very special if it is within your family, I believe—but I keep my fingers crossed that it will not happen again!”

“We spend every second as a family celebrating that we are together,” she adds.

*Actual names withheld for privacy.

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