CPR and a Haircut: A story of survival from one of our own
Demetria Cameron is a project coordinator with the American Heart Association’s ECC Global Marketing team. She is based in Dallas, TX.
The evening of Friday, August 31st, 2018 is one that I will never forget. I had taken my son to our local barbershop for a haircut. Considering we usually go on Saturdays, I believe this little change in our routine was divine placement. Because just minutes after taking a seat in the waiting area, the stranger sitting next to me had a seizure. I’d later learn her name is Jenetria.
As Jenetria’s body began to seize, the barbers rushed over and gently placed her on her side to help her breathe, cradling her head so it wouldn’t hit the floor. When the seizure stopped, I stood by carefully watching her for a response. Jenetria began gasping, however, others thought she was safe, that she was breathing. Thankfully, because of my Heartsaver training as an Association employee, I could tell the difference.
“She’s not breathing, she’s gasping!” I yelled. Suddenly, she stopped gasping and become unresponsive. I instructed for her to be laid on her back and for everyone to clear some space. One of the barbers was already on the phone with 9-1-1 and updating the situation to the dispatcher in real time. I lifted Jenetria’s shirt and immediately began Hands Only CPR compressions. I continued compressions until the paramedics arrived and took over. Once stabilized, Jenetria was rushed to the hospital.
At the hospital, the doctors discovered that Jenetria was seven months pregnant and required an emergency c-section to save the baby! Baby Josiah was born that night, two months premature and also needing an emergency procedure due to two holes found in his heart. Incredibly, now six weeks later both mom and baby are strong, healthy and doing just fine. The doctors and nurses are calling it a miracle, and I agree!
Because of their quick actions, the barbers of the Omega Cut Barbershop, Anthony O’Neal and Albert Edmondson, received Heartsaver Hero awards. They not only helped to save one life but two—and so did I!
As a member of the American Heart Association team, I’ve always understood the value of CPR. Everyone on our team receives training, even though you honestly never believe that you will have to use it. But when that moment suddenly presents itself, the value of knowing CPR becomes priceless. To be able to know what to do, and be prepared makes me appreciate the importance of CPR in a whole new way.
I’m so grateful that I work with the Association because the quality is like no other. AHA CPR training courses give you clear details and exact information so that you know exactly what to do and when. Everyone desires high-quality things; clothes, food, etc. CPR should be the same way.