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Share Your Story: Butch & Susie Gibbs

by Christy D. on Monday, August 5, 2013

Butch & Susie Gibbs Iowa

On April 2, 2004, I was performing in our annual community play which ended a little after 9:00pm and as the play ended, I started having chest pain.  Not long after arriving home, I went into sudden cardiac arrest.
My wife, Susie, had already called the ambulance when the chest pain continued and even before I collapsed.  Susie immediately started CPR while my daughter, Amy, called to tell EMS this was no longer a “chest pain” call---it was now a “CPR-in-progress” call.
The Humeston First Responders arrived in just three minutes and had the first shock off less than a minute later.  The shocks brought my pulse back for a short time, but then it stopped again.
The Lucas County Ambulance arrived about 20 minutes later.  The Paramedic began the cardiac drugs. Soon—after CPR, 22 AED shocks, and the cardiac drugs---my heartbeat was back to stay.
After the 20-mile trip by ambulance to the local Emergency Room where they kept me going and then a helicopter ride, I was at Mercy Hospital Medical Center in Des Moines.  After eight days, I was sent home with about 18 hours of my life missing from my memory.
Susie was already an AHA CPR instructor and since then, I have also become one.  We teach numerous classes to people in the area and were part of a group of instructors who went to Washington, DC to teach CPR ANYTIME to staff members of the U. S. Congress.  We helped raise money and obtain grants to place AEDs in all the school buildings and law enforcement cars in Wayne County and have helped other groups and organizations get AEDs for their locations.  We also have lobbied lawmakers in both Des Moines and Washington, DC, to fund programs to help place AEDs in rural areas and helped get a law passed in Iowa that requires all students to take a CPR class before they can graduate from high School. 
Susie & I felt there was a reason I became part of the 5% of sudden cardiac arrest victims who survive.  That reason is to help spread the word on the importance of knowing how to do CPR and how to use an AED so that others may have the same chance that I did.