NORWOOD, MASS. (WHDH) – Two people reunited with a fellow gym member today in the same gym where their combined efforts had saved his life.
Paula Verderber, a nurse, and Scott Leverenz were each given a Heartsaver Hero award from the American Heart Association, recognizing their life-saving actions.
Verderber and Leverenz were about to start an exercise class at Crossfit Prosperity on June 28 with Chris Dull when he went into cardiac arrest.
“Chris had said, ‘let’s start class!’ and no sooner did I turn around and he was face down on the ground,” Verderber said.
Verderber and Leverenz said they then noticed a defibrilator on the wall, and began to administer CPR as they figured out how to use the machine.
“I’ve never used one before,” Leverenz said. “So to grab it in the moment and in 30 seconds figure out how to put it on his chest, then take a look at a few images, and have the machine tell me what to do was pretty impressive.”
The pair said adrenaline took over a they administered shocks to Dull’s body and revived his breathing.
“I can’t thank these two enough,” Dull said. “If it wasn’t for these two and these devices, I wouldn’t be here right now.”
After his breathing had been revived, Dull underwent emergency cardiac bypass surgery and is doing okay. Emergency crews credited Verderber and Leverenz for their quick action.
“Early application of this device and the treatment these citizens gave the patient clearly saved his life,” Norwood Fire Chief David Hayes. “EMS systems starts with the people in the area when an event happens.”
The action was not Verderber’s first experience with CPR or cardiac arrest.
“My brother-in-law, unfortunately, had a cardiac arrest and passed away,” she said. “So for me to come the next day and to be able to save someone’s life was pretty tremendous for me.”
The gym members and the fire department agreed that learning to use a defibrillator is something everyone should take time to learn.
“I just hope that anyone would do the same thing in this situation,” Leverenz said. “I hope its something anyone can learn to do and do pretty quickly.”
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