Local News

Jul 19, 2010 11:20 PM by Danielle Lerner

Woman credited with saving a man's life at the "Y" speaks to KSBY News

Some scary moments at a local YMCA after a man in his sixties suffers a heart attack during a game of racquetball.

It happened around 8:30 a.m. Monday at the "Y" on Southwood Drive in San Luis Obispo.

Firefighters arrived within three minutes of getting the call, but it's what happened before emergency crews arrived that made all the difference.

What started as a game of racquetball became a life or death situation Monday morning.

"He started walking this way and at this point, he fell over," said Jenifer Rhynes, executive director of the San Luis Obispo County "Y." "We actually had to roll the man over because he had fallen face first."

That is when Rhynes took action, by taking out the Automatic External Defibrillator, or AED.

"When we could no longer feel a pulse we turned on the machine to test and it instructed us to activate the defibrillator which we did," said Rhynes.

She pressed the button, gave a shock and the man's pulse returned.

Just in time for emergency responders to take over.

"In this case it definitely did make a difference by early defibrillation, which is part of the chain of survival," said Steve Gonzalez, a firefighter with the city of San Luis Obispo.

Still Rhynes says she is no hero.

Every staff member at the "Y" must be certified in first aid and CPR, which includes AED training.

It is something Rhynes says everyone should have.

"Anybody can do it if they're paying attention," she said. "You never know when it's going to be you who's going to be the leader in providing help to someone."

The man was taken to French Hospital and Rhynes has not spoken with him, or his family, since.

She says the "Y" will be waiting whenever he wants to return.

"He's been a member of the 'Y' for 20 years so I have no doubt that we'll see him again," said Rhynes.

The man's racquetball partner did eventually speak with Rhynes.

He is in stable condition and is expected to be released from the hospital in a couple of days.

French Hospital donated that AED to the "Y" more than four years ago.

Several buildings throughout the city are also AED-equipped, just in case.

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