Eye Doctor Performs CPR Four Times

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One of the leading killers of Americans is from a heart attack. And - unless you are already in a hospital - your life depends on the people around you. Nearly 90-percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital - die. In tonight's person to person report - meet a local eye doctor whose skill outside of ophthalmology has proven to be a life saver.

Dr. Deann Fitzgerald is accustomed to giving eye exams, offering eye glasses and contacts, and the general eye health that goes with being an optometrist. But while she was in college, a side job required that Fitzgerald learn CPR, something she never imagined she would really need. She says, “CPR was required for us to have as an umpire. And when I was in optometry school I needed some extra jobs. So one of them was to umpire men's fast pitch, and women's fast pitch, and baseball."

Years later, her skill would be tested when a man on a golf course fell ill. “On the back nine, a gentleman just went down and somebody was screaming, and we just started performing CPR. And somebody called 911, and the first responder was a guy on a tractor with a can of oxygen, and the rest is history, he's alive and well”, said Fitzgerald.

More time passed and it happened again. She says, “The second time we were actually at a wedding." Sadly, it was the bride's father who suffered a heart attack. Dr. Fitzgerald's quick action bought him precious time he might not have had without the help. “He lived a little bit longer, probably long enough to say goodbye, but he did not make it for the duration, but he did become conscious”, says Fitzgerald.

Sometime later, she got a knock on the door in the night. It was a neighbor. She says, “She just said my husband is not waking up. So we just ran across, I grabbed my cell phone, and we started doing CPR."

The likelihood of performing c-p-r three times is low, but for Dr. Fitzgerald, there would even be another. She says, “I was at kickboxing class, and a gentleman went down, and I went to help. I really did not think he would make it, but he did."

Four lives - saved by one skill that most any of us can - and *should - learn. Fitzgerald adds, “I didn't even think about it. I just stepped up to the plate to do it, and you perform the activity and you hope for the best."

CPR, especially if performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, can double or even triple a person's chance of survival.

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