AHA CPR & First Aid Blog


“I’m a Survivor Too:” A paramedic’s story of being on the other side


Pictured left to right: Devin Goenner (son), Rita Berrier (Paramedic), Chris Goenner, Jodi Goenner (wife), Scott Hess (Paramedic), and Blair Richey (Paramedic)

It was October of 2007 when Christopher Goenner collapsed in front of his colleagues. Chris was only 32 and in seeming perfect health. But Chris’s heart had gone into ventricular tachycardia (VTAC)—an irregular rhythm that prevents the heart from pumping blood to the body.

With Chris unresponsive, his colleagues – fellow paramedics – took immediate action beginning with CPR. Chris’s fatal heart rhythm was quickly identified via cardiac monitor. A manual defibrillator was deployed to shock his heart back into a normal rhythm. Fortunately, only one shock was needed. Chris was quickly stabilized and transported to the hospital.

“When I woke, there were voices around me that hadn’t been there last I remembered. I couldn’t see for a bit as my vision was blurry. That’s how I knew something was wrong,” Chris shared with the CPR & First Aid Blog.

At the hospital, Chris received an internal defibrillator and a pacemaker. Incredibly, because CPR and a defibrillator were deployed within moments of his VTAC, there was no fear of brain damage. Chris was able to leave the hospital after only two nights.

“The important thing to remember in my story is – even though my colleagues are paramedics – the actions they took for me that day are all the same things that a bystander could do,” he said. “These are the […]

November 28th, 2018|2 Comments