Thu. Jul 25th, 2024
alert-–-passenger-saves-man’s-life-while-waiting-at-airport-terminal-after-spotting-two-worrying-symptomsAlert – Passenger saves man’s life while waiting at airport terminal after spotting two worrying symptoms

A woman at a North Carolina airport saved a man’s life after her quick thinking and medical know-how led her to believe he was having a heart attack. 

Claire Cerbie, a registered nurse, was waiting at the gate for her flight at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport on the morning of June 7, when she took notice of struggling Ken Jeffries.

Jeffries, 57, was on the same Knoxville, Tennessee-bound flight as Cerbie, and she said he was displaying two classic signs of a possible heart attack, WBTV reported.

‘Just the way that you were snoring and breathing sounded like you were having a heart attack based on what I’ve seen before,’ Cerbie said to Jeffries on a Zoom call reunion.

More than half the patients who go into cardiac arrest gasp, snore, or have labored breathing, according to the University of Arizona’s Sarver Heart Center.

‘Bystanders often misinterpret gasping and other unusual vocal sounds as breathing and do not call 9-1-1 or begin lifesaving chest compressions quickly enough,’ the center explained.

This wasn’t a problem for Cerbie, who knew exactly what she was dealing with the moment she saw Jeffries snoring.

She leapt into action immediately and enlisted nearby flyers to help her.

Cerbie and a group of good Samaritans performed chest compressions while someone else fetched a defibrillator.

‘We put the pads on him,’ she said. ‘It indicated a shockable rhythm, and it shocked him in between while we were doing compressions.’ 

They did CPR on Jeffries for 10 minutes before he miraculously regained a pulse. 

‘He had his own rhythm. He was breathing on his own and we kind of just stayed by him until the paramedics arrived,’ the nurse said.

After the fact, Jeffries expressed his gratitude to Cerbie for saving him, nearly breaking down on the Zoom call with her trying to thank her for what she did.

‘Excuse me, I’m sorry, guys,’ he said as he collected himself. 

‘A “thank you” is not enough, Claire. Thank you for what you did. I am so appreciative and indebted to you.’

Cerbie, who used to work at Atrium Health’s Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute in Charlotte, appeared to get emotional hearing Jeffries’ impassioned thank you.

‘I’m very glad that I was there that day to help you out. I’d obviously do it again in a heartbeat,’ she said. 

‘I’m so happy to see that you’re doing so well.’

On the day of his heart attack, Jeffries was rushed to Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center where cardiologist Dr. William Downey performed surgery on him.

Downey revealed that if Cerbie and her fellow passengers hadn’t jumped in to do CPR, Jeffries would have died.

Jeffries didn’t notice any symptoms commonly associated with heart attacks in the lead up to his medical emergency.

Downey said heart attacks can be prevented by quitting smoking, exercising regularly, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.

As an added bonus for her act of heroism, Cerbie was upgraded to first class by American Airlines, WBTV reported. 

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