Quick Actions of Aquatic Center Staff Save Swimmer

As the pool director at a local aquatic center for the past seven years, Julien Morel has come to expect quiet evenings watching swimmers train for events. Bernard Marie, an executive in a factory located in Puy en Valey, a small town in the Rhône Alps, had similar expectations as he attended his weekly swim training one evening when Julien was on duty. A seasoned athlete, Bernard hikes, jogs, and swims regularly. Unfortunately, neither Julien nor Bernard had the night they were expecting.

Approximately 30 minutes into his warm-up laps, Bernard recalls feeling dizzy. Another swimmer spotted Bernard struggling to hold onto the lane line, helped him to the edge of the pool, and called for help. Julien helped her lift Bernard out of the pool and onto the deck, where he immediately lost consciousness.

“Bernard was all red, then purple, [and then] his skin turned gray. We knew we had to give him compressions.”

— Julien Morel
Pool director at Club Agglo le Puy en Velay Natation

Fast off the block

Julien and his colleagues quickly jumped into action. Julien began CPR while someone else called emergency services and retrieved the automated external defibrillator (AED). “Bernard was all red, then purple, [and then] his skin turned gray. We knew we had to give him compressions,” Julien recalls.

When the ZOLL AED Plus® arrived, the rescuers attached the electrodes to Bernard’s chest. Julien resumed compressions, focusing on the beep of the AED’s metronome — to keep his compressions on pace — and keeping his eyes on Bernard’s chest. After the fifth round of compressions, Julien feared Bernard might not regain consciousness, but it was then that the AED recommended a shock. It took two more rounds of CPR following the shock before rescuers heard Bernard catch his breath. Although he was still unconscious, he was breathing on his own. Julien feels that the voice guidance and the metronome really helped him focus on delivering good compressions. “You don’t feel alone with this [AED Plus] device that speaks to you,” Julien says.

Julien Morel and SCA survivor Bernard Marie outside the entrance to the aquatic center at Club Agglo le Puy en Velay Natation.

Emergency services arrived and transported Bernard to the local hospital where he learned he had suffered sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). He was hospitalized for several weeks and required stents implanted in his coronary arteries. Bernard was deeply moved by Julien’s visit during his recuperation in the hospital. He realized that if Julien and his colleagues hadn’t responded quickly with CPR and an AED, the outcome could have been very different.

A new training goal

Three months after his release, Bernard was back to work and had even resumed swim training. The SCA event was life-changing for Bernard, Julien, and everyone involved. Bernard is grateful for all that his rescuers did to save him and that the swim club was equipped with a ZOLL AED Plus. He’s nearing retirement age and plans to take lifesaving CPR and AED training himself, so he’s prepared to help others in the same way those at the pool helped him that day.

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