ORLANDO, Fla. — Driving home after an Orlando City soccer game, Gerome and Pamela Heiker pulled up to a stop light when all of a sudden, things went terribly wrong.
Orlando man says life saved by CPR Orlando Health workers say not to be afraid to give CPR
“He just put his foot on the brake and just slumped over the steering wheel,” Pamela said.
“That is the last I remember,” chuckled Gerome.
He smiled because this story has a happy ending. Gerome is alive, but that day he experienced his second heart attack.
“I just knew in that moment that CPR was the be-all end-all that was going to save his life,” Pamela said.
She pushed on his chest, while her daughter in the back seat called 911. It only took a few minutes for paramedics to arrive before Gerome went into cardiac arrest.
Do you know CPR? It’s a simple technique that saves lives. Gerome Heiker told me today, he wouldn’t be here if his wife hadn’t given him CPR a month ago. He was in the car at a stop light when he had a heart attack! @MyNews13 @orlandohealth @American_Heart pic.twitter.com/rZ1hcFvcK8
— Erin Murray News 13 (@emurray1) June 6, 2018
Looking back as he sat in the same car a month later, the day really sinks in for Gerome.
“This could have been my tombstone, really,” he said.
Gerome is sharing his story because it is CPR Week.
CPR is a simple, life-saving technique that has actually gotten even simpler — it’s called hands-only CPR.
“Now (it’s) just performing compressions,” said Alisha Stokes, Orlando Health, Corporate Chest Pain Center Coordinator. “It’s the most critical component to getting that blood circulating through the system, and you don’t need the extra rescue breaths because the person was just seconds ago alive and breathing.”
In fact, the biggest thing to know is to not be afraid to give CPR when a person is unresponsive.
“Absolutely, you don’t need a certification or any kind of CPR card. You don’t have to go through a class. Anybody can do CPR, so you are covered under the Good Samaritan law as a bystander to perform CPR,” Stokes said.
Stokes and Kim Cleek teach CPR regularly. The pair even recently did a video through Orlando Health’s Facebook to teach and answer commonly asked questions.
For Gerome and his wife, they want everyone to learn CPR.
“Having knowledge of what to do can save someone’s life,” Pamela said.