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Cardiologist stops mid-marathon to perform CPR, ends up saving the lives of two runners

The doctor administered CPR on both the people. They are expected to make full recoveries thanks to his intervention.

Cardiologist stops mid-marathon to perform CPR, ends up saving the lives of two runners
Cover Image Source: Twitter/SteveLome

Cardiologist and distance runner Steven Lome has never seen a cardiac arrest occur during a road race. He didn't anticipate using his professional abilities off the job either. But on November 13, when Lome was competing in the Monterey Bay Half Marathon in California, he observed not one, but two racers fall to the ground and gave both of them cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The two runners, who are men in their 50s and 60s, managed to live and are anticipated to fully recover, according to Lome's account on Twitter, via WashingtonPost. “I just thought it was such a crazy, crazy odds, random event that there were two cardiac arrests, and both happened to be right in front of me,” he stated in a phone conversation.

Gregory Gonzales, a judge on the Washington state Superior Court, was the man lying on the ground. He was 67 years old. Gonzales claimed that even at the time just prior, he felt good. His sole concern that day was finding a nice parking space because he had prepared for the event and was feeling so relaxed, as per USA Today. Gonzales reportedly collapsed and injured his head on the ground, according to Lome. With a few onlookers' assistance, Lome hurried over and began performing CPR. Gonzales was defibrillated after around six minutes of chest compressions, He claims that he felt nothing but stiffness in his ribs when he woke up in the ambulance, which resulted from the extended CPR.



After Gonzales was taken away in the ambulance, Lome went back to finish his race after having dealt with the situation. He raised his hands up in the air but his joy was short-lived. "I heard somebody say, 'We need some help over here,'" Lome recalled. The 56-year-old runner on the ground, Michael Heilemann, claimed that 10 steps after crossing the finish line, he began to feel lightheaded. Lome was performing CPR once more. In his 12-year tenure, he claims to have witnessed hundreds of cardiac arrests. But they've always been in a hospital, surrounded by medical personnel. He has never had to perform CPR outside of his job, much less twice in one day.



It was "super crazy fortuitous," said Heilemann, a resident of San Anselmo, California, that Lome was there to catch him as he struck the ground. Gonzales and Heilemann both had blockages that resulted in cardiac arrests, and they both had stents placed in their coronary arteries to increase blood flow. Lome says he hopes it would encourage others to focus more on their own heart health, and to learn CPR. The next day, Lome went to see them both in the hospital. He inquired as to whether Heilemann had gotten a race medal. When Heilemann said no, Lome gave one to him. "I didn't know at the time that it was his medal," Heilemann said. "He certainly deserves it more than I do."



The instances, which drew national notice, provide lessons and reminders for runners of all levels. According to a 2012 research published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the incidence rate of sudden cardiac arrests among road race participants is .54 per 100,000 participants, with the rate much greater during marathons compared to half marathons. Furthermore, the vast majority of cardiac arrests (71 percent) were deadly. The Monterey Bay Half Marathon had around 5,000 participants. Both runners come from families with a history of heart disease or heart attacks. Both lived because to the fast actions of bystanders who performed CPR and the availability of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs).  Lome, Heilemann, and Gonzales have stayed in touch and intend to do the same half-marathon next year. "He could take good care of us as we finish the race," Gonzales laughed.

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