Miracle at Mile 4 – An Epilogue

I was working on this week’s post when I saw a follow-up post on social media from Lance, the runner who collapsed during the Zion Half Marathon.  After reading his post, I knew that I needed to share the rest of his story.  Like me, many of you were probably wondering how he is doing.

In his post, Lance first thanked the runners who cared enough about his life to stop their race and start a new one – a race to save his life.  Their actions immediately after he collapsed prevented him from having brain damage, becoming severely disabled, or, worse yet, dying.   Unbelievable as it may seem, Lance is getting ready to return to work.

Giving chest compressions is hard work and these “angel runners” did it for 16 minutes, according to Lance.  They kept going even though conventional wisdom said it was a lost cause.  They pushed so hard on his chest that his sternum broke.  If you are doing Hands-Only CPR, it is not unusual for the sternum and even the ribs to break.  According to the American Heart Association, “the chance of surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is near zero for a victim who does not immediately receive high-quality chest compressions with minimal interruptions followed by additional therapy within minutes (a defibrillating shock and/or more advanced care from EMS personnel).”  A broken sternum is nothing compared to what could have happened.

Lance is in a unique position.  What do you do when you come so close to death but have a group of caring strangers yank you back?  How do you express your gratitude to the people who saved your life?  I doubt Hallmark makes a card for that one.  I think for Lance it will be expressed in a life well lived, a life helping others through his professional work in the area of antibiotics, a life enriched by the loving relationships with his family and friends, the very relationships that helped sustain him during his recovery.

Lance closed his post with a public service announcement for Hands-Only CPR and a link to the American Heart Association’s website.   I went to their website and learned some interesting statistics:

  • 70 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in homes and residential settings.
  • Unfortunately, only about 46 percent of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest get the immediate help that they need before professional help arrives.
  • Hands-Only CPR has been shown to be as effective as conventional CPR for cardiac arrest at home, at work or in public. It can double or even triple a victim’s chance of survival.

Doing Hands-Only CPR can save the life of someone’s loved one, even your own loved one.  It’s easy and it works.  Just ask Lance.

There are only two steps to Hands-Only CPR.  Take a minute to learn them by reviewing the Hands-Only CPR information at the American Heart Association’s website.