AHA: Florida Lifeguards Helped Save Man's Life After Cardiac Arrest

AHA: Florida Lifeguards Helped Save Man's Life After Cardiac Arrest

For J.R. Bourne, a day at the beach rekindles good and bad memories.

Mental Health Does Not Come With A Manual, It Comes With Friends & Family Support That Never Gives Up!
Join now

It's the place where the Jacksonville Beach, Florida, resident died and was brought back to life thanks to fast-thinking first responders and an automated external defibrillator.

Back in June 2015, then-40-year-old Bourne was playing soccer on the beach with his friend Luis when he suddenly collapsed and stopped breathing.

A bystander immediately started CPR and someone called 911. Luckily, lifeguards on a Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue truck were nearby.

"We were driving down the beach at 10 a.m., putting our lifeguards out on towers, when we heard screams for help," said lifeguard Gordon VanDusen, one of the first responders. The lifeguards are certified in CPR and AED, and had just completed refresher training.

Within seconds the lifeguards took over CPR. They used an AED to shock Bourne's heart back to a normal rhythm. The team of eight kept him breathing until an ambulance arrived.

More than 350,000 people in the U.S. experience a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart's electrical system malfunctions, causing the heart to abruptly stop. Unless CPR is performed and an AED is used to shock the heart, death can occur within minutes.

At Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, Bourne learned he was among the 11 percent of those treated by emergency medical services to survive a cardiac arrest.

Bourne's wife, Pam, recalled a hospital doctor saying, "On a scale of one to 10, his luck was a 30 today."

Bourne spent six days at the hospital, undergoing tests and surgeries.

Cardiac catheterization found no blockage in his arteries, but an echocardiogram and MRI showed scarring on 20 percent of his heart. His ejection fraction score a measure of how well the heart pumps blood was 25. A normal reading is 50 or higher.

Bourne's official diagnosis was hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle that can disrupt the electrical signals and heartbeat. It's a common condition that's usually inherited, but the cause is unknown.

HCM could have caused Bourne's heart to stop. Vigorous physical activity can trigger arrhythmias, which can lead to cardiac arrest in people with HCM.

Bourne received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, or ICD, because his risk for another cardiac arrest remained high. The pocket-watch-size device implanted in his chest monitors his heart rate and delivers a shock if it detects an irregular rhythm.

Bourne's new ICD was put to the test six months later while playing golf. He passed out and "felt like someone punched me in the chest when I wasn't expecting it." After a visit to the hospital, he learned his ICD shocked him when his heart rate jumped to 288 beats per minute. A normal heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute.

"They identified what happened, but not why," Pam said. "We don't take the luck thing lightly."

Since then, the couple have become certified in CPR and AED. They also volunteer with the American Heart Association, and Bourne joined the board of the American Red Cross Jacksonville Beach Volunteer Life Saving Corps.

The Internet's Most Trusted Source For Mental Health Information
Sign up

"It's important," Bourne, now 43, said. "AEDs should be as common as fire extinguishers."


Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Related Content

Freedom From OCD: An Original Series on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Freedom From OCD: An Original Series on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

It is estimated over 1.2% of the adult population wrestles with Obsessive-Compul...

Read more
Freedom From OCD - Official Trailer
Freedom From OCD - Official Trailer

An original 6-episode series on obsessive-compulsive disorder, available instant...

Read more
A Young Mother's Addiction Led To Death & Her Obituary Struck An International Chord
A Young Mother's Addiction Led To Death & Her Obituary Struck An International Chord

Madelyn Ellen Linsenmeir died on Sunday, October 7. While her death was unexpect...

Read more
Why Are Children In Class Being Wrongly Labelled As Having ADHD So Frequently?
Why Are Children In Class Being Wrongly Labelled As Having ADHD So Frequently?

Parents worried about their child falling behind academically because they are b...

Read more
The Real Causes Of Anxiety & Depression Might Not Be What You Think
The Real Causes Of Anxiety & Depression Might Not Be What You Think

Across the Western world today, if you are depressed or anxious and you go to yo...

Read more
Companies Are Opening Their Doors To Talent With Autism
Companies Are Opening Their Doors To Talent With Autism

Twenty-seven-year-old Christopher Pauley thought he had it all figured out when ...

Read more