In any emergency, time is critical. But it's especially crucial when a person has a heart attack, and two local women were in the right place at the right time to help save a life.
A happy reunion at the Paulsen Surgery Center could have been a different story if Sue Romeo and Heather Smith had gone home early one Friday afternoon. Debbie Fowler was working at her desk when she suddenly collapsed.
"It's a shock seeing someone that you know in a small area unresponsive," recalled Smith. "The first thing that goes through your mind is just like Sue said, you just want to immediately think about what to do to save her life. And that's what we did."
After getting over the shock of seeing a friend in full cardiac arrest, Sue Romeo had to pull herself together and remember how to perform CPR. "It all came back and I had a lot of help from all of my friends that work here," she said. "This is a very humbling experience, but everybody had a part in saving Debbie's life."
There were no doctors in the building at the time, so Heather and Sue kept Debbie alive until paramedics arrived and rushed her to Memorial Health for emergency heart surgery. Debbie is still recovering from the ordeal, but managed to stop by the center just to say thanks.
"If they hadn't responded like they responded, I wouldn't be here saying thank you today," she said. "They're great and the whole Paulsen Street Surgery Center was great at my time of need. So I thank them all."
For their effort that saved a coworker's life, Sue Romeo and Heather Smith are this week's WTOC Hometown Heroes.
If you'd like to nominate a Hometown Hero, you can drop us a line at the station: PO Box 8086, Savannah, GA 31412, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.