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Coffee, Croissants, and CPR: Quick action from bystanders saves a life in Pennsylvania

Coffee, Croissants, and CPR
Quick action from bystanders saves a life in Pennsylvania

For Stacey Sassaman and Lloyd Emelle, it was a day like any other. They were visiting Stacey’s brother in Westchester, PA and decided to spend a quiet afternoon at the neighborhood coffee shop. The two took up seats next to an elderly man who seemed to be sitting and quietly daydreaming to himself. After a while the man, Joe, fell asleep in his armchair. Stacey, a medical student, noticed his sleep seemed erratic and his breathing uneven, so she and Lloyd opted to keep an eye on him.

Almost an hour later, Joe’s breathing appeared to be getting heavier and he was struggling. “At this time we were increasingly concerned about his symptoms,” explains Lloyd, a former lifeguard. “Stacey went to alert the baristas that he might need help, and I began to mentally prepare myself for the possibility that I may need to perform CPR. That’s when I saw him stop breathing.”

Lloyd and Stacey immediately jumped into action. Lloyd cleared the surrounding furniture as Stacey checked for a pulse. Right as she found it, it disappeared. They moved Joe to the floor, and Stacey began to perform Hands-Only CPR. The barista Stacey had spoken to called 9-1-1.

Stacey and Lloyd performed Hands-Only CPR for almost 4 minutes until the paramedics arrived and took over. Once his pulse was restored, Joe was transported to a local hospital where he recovered.

“Speaking of the experience now seems surreal,” shares Lloyd. “I’m an Eagle Scout. It’s my mindset to be ready for anything, though I never expected something like this. I learned CPR growing up in Houston. My mom enrolled me in a city program for disadvantaged kids where I learned how to swim and eventually trained to be a lifeguard.”

“Not everyone needs to be an EMT, doctor, etc.,” added Stacey, who is studying to be an OBGYN. “But everyone should know the basics. One of the most alarming parts of this experience was, when Joe stopped breathing, everyone else in the cafe froze. I asked the barista if they had an AED, but he didn’t know how to respond. If Lloyd and I hadn’t been there, it’s likely no one would have been able to help.”

This is why Stacey, who is trained in BLS and ACLS, so strongly recommends the American Heart Association training—not just for medical professionals but for everyone.

“My training through the Association was great,” concludes Stacey. “What made it so effective is that it wasn’t just a lecture, but rather a hands-on experience. You don’t want to have to stop and think when seconds really count. I have no doubt that my training was critical to saving that man’s life.”

hidden Kurt’s Story

Kurt’s Story

Most people who experience cardiac arrest at home, work, or in a public location die because they don’t receive immediate CPR from someone on the scene. It’s important to remember that as a bystander, your actions can only help. When someone collapsed at his workplace, Kurt wasn’t afraid to step in and perform CPR until emergency help arrived.
hidden HeartCode PALS Demo Video

HeartCode PALS Demo Video

The American Heart Association’s HeartCode PALS Course, web-based and accessible 24 hours a day, provides a flexible, blended alternative to traditional classroom training. This online instructional program uses eSimulation technology to allow students to assess and treat pediatric patients in virtual healthcare settings. In this environment, students apply their knowledge to real-time decision-making and skills development. The goal of the PALS Course is to improve the quality of care provided to seriously ill or injured children, resulting in improved outcomes. After completing the online portion, students attend a hands-on session to test their skills with an AHA Instructor or on a voice-assisted manikin (VAM).
hidden HeartCode BLS Demo Video

HeartCode BLS Demo Video

The American Heart Association’s HeartCode BLS uses the latest eSimulation technology to enable students to assess and treat patients in virtual healthcare settings. Utilizing a variety of eLearning assets such as dramatizations, eSimulations, animations, self-directed learning, and interactive activities, this course teaches BLS knowledge and skills. This method of learning provides training consistency, adaptability to different learning styles, and flexibility for the student’s and employer’s time. Students can work at their own pace applying their knowledge to real-time decision making and skills development. After completing the online portion, students attend a hands-on session to test their skills with an AHA Instructor or on a voice-assisted manikin (VAM).
hidden HeartCode ACLS Demo Video

HeartCode ACLS Demo Video

The American Heart Association’s HeartCode ACLS Course, web-based and accessible 24 hours a day, provides a flexible, blended alternative to traditional classroom training. This online instructional program builds on the foundation of lifesaving BLS and uses the latest eSimulation technology to enable students to assess and treat patients in virtual healthcare settings. Students apply their knowledge to real-time decision making and skills development, and receive debriefings and coaching immediately after each simulation. After completing the online portion, students attend a hands-on session to test their skills with an AHA Instructor or on a voice-assisted manikin (VAM).
hidden Justin’s Story

Justin’s Story

One day while playing in his backyard, a ball hit Justin in the chest in the exact location, at the exact millisecond of his heart’s rhythm, to send his heart into a fatal rhythm. This is a condition known as commotio cordis, a type of cardiac arrest. Thankfully, Justin’s friends and family acted quickly instead of freezing in fear.
hidden Shared Moments 3 (Video)

Shared Moments 3 (Video)

Every second counts in cardiac arrest, which can strike at any time. This powerful video from the American Heart Association and Anthem Foundation shows how a bystander can perform Hands-Only CPR and be the difference for someone they love.
hidden Shared Moments 2 (Video)

Shared Moments 2 (Video)

Every second counts in cardiac arrest, which can strike at any time. This powerful video from the American Heart Association and Anthem Foundation shows how a bystander can perform Hands-Only CPR and be the difference for someone they love.
hidden Shared Moments 1 (Video)

Shared Moments 1 (Video)

Every second counts in cardiac arrest, which can strike at any time. This powerful video from the American Heart Association and Anthem Foundation shows how a bystander can perform Hands-Only CPR and be the difference for someone they love.