Keith Ezell didn’t know he’d save someone’s life before he even got to work. As a nurse assistant for the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, he’s used to helping people in dire circumstances.
But on Feb. 19, those circumstances seemed to seek him out. While driving through the Cleveland suburb of Parma, Ohio, Ezell heard a crash.
He was running an errand for his mother prior to going to work, but he quickly detoured to investigate. What he found was straight out of a nightmare.
A pair of cars had crashed. As he approached, Ezell told WKYC Channel 3 News that one of the drivers started screaming, “‘She’s not breathing! Help me! Help me!’”
A woman in one of the vehicles appeared moments away from death. Worse yet, she was pregnant.
“She was pretty much gone,” Ezell reported. “So I put her on the ground and administered CPR.”
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Ezell was more than prepared. Not only had he recently completed a CPR class, but he also had a resuscitator mask in his backpack.
He administered chest compressions and breaths for approximately five minutes as a crowd gathered and police arrived on scene. Ezell eventually began to wonder if all his efforts were for naught.
“She was turning blue. She had no pulse, and I kept thinking, ‘She can’t die on me,’” he said.
Fortunately, she didn’t. Soon after paramedics arrived, Ezell heard them call out that they had a pulse.
Ezell’s example shows why everyone should learn CPR. According to the American Heart Association, nearly 400,000 cardiac arrests happen every year in a non-hospital setting.
Worse, 70 percent of people report that they would feel as though they had no idea what to do during such an incident. A mere 32 percent of cardiac-arrest victims can count on getting CPR from a bystander.
This particular car-crash victim should consider herself more than a little blessed. But a report from WKYC adds a darker twist to the story.
After paramedics arrived, they administered a dose of Narcan, a narcotic blocker, to the pregnant woman. She was allegedly suffering the effects of a heroin overdose.
Of course, that wasn’t the end. Thanks to the help of a brave, well-prepared stranger, she now has a new lease on life.