Woman saved by gym members after suffering cardiac arrest during workout
ORRVILLE, Ohio (WOIO/Gray News) - A 62-year-old woman credits her fellow gym members for saving her life when she suffered a cardiac arrest during a workout.
Linda Thompson was at Tillison’s Fitness Warehouse in Orrville, Ohio, for an early morning “boot camp” workout about two weeks ago when she collapsed during a cardiac arrest.
In a recent interview, Thompson told WOIO the morning of the incident was anything but normal despite her overall good health.
“Something was off, and I didn’t feel right. And I was wondering if I should go,” she said.
However, Thompson decided to go to the gym and work her way through what she called “a low energy day.”
Looking back, Thompson said there were warning signs that she didn’t recognize or chose to ignore.
“My chest felt funny, like I had a little bit of a warm feeling, and my left arm felt kind of achy and tired,” she said.
Surveillance video from the gym captured the moment Thompson was waiting her turn for the sled push. Suddenly, she can be seen getting shaky on her feet. There’s a moment where she tries to steady herself before she collapses.
“I just started feeling dizzy, I just started, everything got foggy. That’s the last thing I remember,” Thompson said.
After she went down, it took only seconds for people in her class to rush over and check on her.
WOIO spoke to Melinda Budd, a former teacher and coach, who was one of the first people at Thompson’s side.
“I went over and took her pulse, felt no pulse, and took it in a couple of different places, and there was no pulse,” she said.
Former volunteer firefighter Ryan McCallister also stepped in to help. He knew CPR and also knew the gym had an automated external defibrillator, or AED.
“I could tell she was in cardiac arrest and we needed to get CPR started right away, and we needed to get that AED pulled of the wall and set up right away,” he said.
Two other people brought the AED and attached the two pads around Thompson’s heart while McCallister continued compressions.
After sustaining a brief shock from the AED, Thompson stirred.
“Just like that, Linda, she flinched and took a breath, it was amazing,” McCallister said.
Thompson said she is grateful to everyone who was there that morning and grateful no one panicked.
“It was very frightening, and I am just happy to be here,” she said.
Thompson said the experience has changed her life, and that the doctors never found out why she went into cardiac arrest. She said she had a pacemaker and defibrillator implanted in her chest.
“That’s the crazy part, just how close I came to not coming back out of this,” she said. “Just thanking God every day I am still here.”
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