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Boy credits 'Stranger Things' for helping him save man's life

"Every doctor, everyone, has said I should be dead," Jason Piquette told Scripps News West Palm Beach.
Boy credits 'Stranger Things' for helping him save man's life
Posted at 12:16 PM, Sep 18, 2023

A Florida boy recently saved a man's life after he said he learned CPR watching the hit Netflix show "Stranger Things."

Austen MacMillan, 12, of Palm Beach County is being hailed as a hero after coming to the aid of behavioral therapist Jason Piquette.

"Every doctor, everyone, has said I should be dead," Piquette said. "I am so grateful to be alive, and so grateful that Austen stepped up and saved me."

Before the incident happened Piquette said he had been working with Austen for a couple of years. They do a lot of swimming, building confidence and strength.

"One of the things that we do the most is swim," Piquette said. "He loves to swim, and it's something that we have been doing the past couple of years is holding our breath challenges."

More than a week ago, they were in the pool timing how long they could hold their breath.

"We both held our breath like for a minute, a minute and a half," Piquette said. "And I said, 'OK, I am going to do it one more time and like try to get to two and a half minutes.' And I said to him, 'Just tap on me when we I'm about a minute 40 [seconds].'"

A camera at the house captured the startling moment when Piquette was holding his breath and slowly drifting to the deep end of the pool. This happened while Austen was timing him.

"And I went underwater, and I was relaxed. I felt great, and that's the last thing I remember. I'm pretty positive that I lost consciousness," Piquette said. "My lungs started to fill up with water, and I went from the shallow end at the bottom of the pool because I let all of the air out of my lungs. I went to the bottom of the pool and sank. And then I started to raise up a little bit, and I started to drift to the deep end."

SEE MORE: Knowing the basics of CPR could save someone's life

A minute and 40 seconds had passed, and Austen said Piquette was not responding. The boy knew something was wrong and pulled Piquette to the shallow side of the pool.

"You were on your belly not on your back," Austen said.

The boy went into rescue mode and started doing CPR.

"I was doing the compressions, but I wasn't doing the breathing," Austen said. "You woke up a few minutes later."

"When you did compressions, water came out of my lungs and blood," Piquette said. "Austen was under my care. I was responsible for him, but unfortunately, the roles reversed in that moment, and he stepped up and saved my life."

"I feel way better that he's alive, and he's healthy now," Austen said.

"I'm so proud of Austen," his mother, Christian MacMillan said. "He's really brave and courageous."

"My message is that you should always be prepared if something happens out of the ordinary," Austen's sister, Anastasia MacMillan said.

This story was originally published by Tania Rogers at Scripps News West Palm Beach.

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