PITTSBURGH - Two members of Jeannette Emergency Medical Services were at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh teaching a CPR class when a volunteer had a heart attack in front of an exhibit.
The volunteer survived because of their quick action.
You can say the stars aligned for Don Mahoney. His love of all things space was the reason he was volunteering at the Heinz History's Center's "Destination Moon" exhibit last October.
That's where he was when he suffered a massive heart attack.
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"I was talking to one of the security guards and just like that, I'm down on the floor," Mahoney said.
"Widow-makers are widow-makers. It's very rare they would survive, for certain," said Gregg Shearer, a paramedic. He's referring to a kind of heart attack that starts with a total blockage of the left anterior descending artery.
He and Delmar Black work for Jeannette EMS.
They were there reaching a class on CPR, and their instincts immediately kicked in.
"He had no pulse, he wasn't breathing," Shearer said.
A security guard grabbed a defibrillator and gave the first shock.
Then Shearer and Black performed CPR.
"There's a reason we were there," Black said. "Worked through (God's) hands, in my opinion."
Mahoney said if his heart attack had happened that afternoon or the next day or the week before, he wouldn't be alive.
"I believe God orchestrated this. I totally believe he orchestrated. He has some plan. Don't know what it is, but by all rights, I shouldn't be here right now," Mahoney said.
Mahoney hopes to meet Shearer and Black to thank them because he said he owes his life to them.
Both paramedics said it's important for people to get CPR training to know how to respond in an emergency and for companies and public buildings to have automated external defibrillators on hand.
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