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Woman credits Zumba instructor, Senior Center staff for bring husband back to life

Staff says first-aid / CPR training was key

Senior Center staff saves Zumba heart...

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo - A woman credits her Zumba instructor and the staff at the Colorado Springs Senior Center for bringing her husband back to life after he went into cardiac arrest.

Sari and Bill Escovitz were twenty minutes into their Zumba class at the Senior Center when Bill went into cardiac arrest.

"I collapsed. It was literally like that, no time to speak anything or yell anything," said Bill Escovitz.

"He was dead before he hit the floor. His color was something you never want to see on someone you care about, or even don't care about. His eyes were unresponsive and just rolled," said Sari Escovitz.

Sari Escovitz said within seconds, her Zumba instructor Anna Lord, the Center's Director Jody Barker and the maintenance manager were trying to revive Bill.

"I was trying to find a pulse and I couldn't find a pulse," said Lord.

"This was clearly a heart attack in progress," said Barker.

The Senior Center recently became a part of the YMCA system. The YMCA requires its employees to get re-certified yearly, whereas before, the senior center only required employees to be re-trained every two years. And Bill was in luck, the group of three had been re-certified two weeks before his heart attack.

"Every one immediately knew their role, what needed to happen," said Barker.

Still, it was terrifying knowing that Bill's life was in their hands.

"I don't think when you are training you ever imagine this being someone you know, someone you care about. Someone whose wife is right there. Who you would miss every much if they were gone. So that's pretty powerful," said Lord.

"Someone told me, you can always train but you can never practice. This was a jump from training, mannequin on the floor to a real live man on the floor. The reality of it was frightening. We were all absolutely terrified for him," said Barker.

Barker started compressions while their facilities supervisor readied the automated external defibrillator and Lord took care of the oxygen. They shocked Bill and soon, he started to come back to life.

"I think it was the happiest I have ever been in my life when his eyes went from being open to kind of fluttering and he was struggling to get the oxygen off his face and I was like, 'He's back! He's back!' And that's when the EMTs came.

By the time Bill left the Zumba classroom, he was stable and even cracking jokes. Sari said if it wasn't for the focus and professionalism of the team of three, she would be a widow.

"I wanted to get them a banner to put over the building to say have a heart attack here because you couldn't have survived something like that but for the incredible work, team work," said Sari.

Lord said that's the last time she'll ever gripe about getting re-trained and CPR. Bill and Sari now plan to get certified themselves after Bill recovers.

"When you are doing that training, hopefully you will never have to use it. But if you do, it's going to make all the difference in the world to someone and their family," said Sari.

 


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