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Share Your Story: Gabe Miller

by Anne S. on Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gabe Miller Rochester, MN

One morning a couple of years ago I was working out at a gym near my house. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man begin to struggle about three or four reps into his set of dips. He dismounted the machine, red in the face, and looked as if he was going to pass out. In as little as ten seconds of getting off of the machine, he locked up and fell backwards.

Thud was the sound that his head made as it smacked the floor. Thank heavens there were a couple of other people in the gym, because my feet were cemented to the floor. I was so shocked that I could not move for the life of me. As they ran over to care for him, I stood there motionless. It was not until someone shouted at me to call 911 that I snapped back to reality. I raced over to the phone and punched in 911. 

“9-1-1, what’s your emergency?” said the operator. “Hi, I was working out at a gym when a gentleman stiffened up after his exercise and fell straight back. He smacked his head pretty hard and he is barely breathing.” He asked if I was there alone and I told him no—other people were caring for the man. The operator then asked, “Does anyone there know CPR? If he stops breathing, someone will need to begin CPR until we get an ambulance there.” I know CPR, I thought to myself. I had learned it in my sophomore year health class. I yelled out, “Does anyone here know CPR?” Not sure if the people heard me or not, I told the operator that CPR could be conducted if needed.

Sure enough, the man stopped breathing. Instantly, one of the people helping the man began CPR. One-and-two-and-three-and-four. . . I thought to myself, remembering that CPR requires thirty chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths. I looked towards the man and noticed that the CPR being conducted was neither rhythmic nor powerful enough. I remember how out of shape I felt the day we conducted CPR on the practice dummies in health class. Whether it was adrenaline or instinct, or both, I dropped the phone and ran over to the man. I mumbled, “The CPR needs to go like this” and began doing chest compressions just like I did in health class. Never in a million years would I have thought that the practice dummy I practiced CPR on would actually be a human. I completed two sets of CPR when an ambulance showed up. The paramedics took over and were able to get to the man breathing again after defibrillating him.

To this day I am unsure what is more difficult to believe: that I remembered something I learned in my sophomore year health class or that I helped saved someone’s life. I wasn’t wearing a cape, nor did I have an “S” on my chest. I was just an ordinary kid who, through remembering something I learned in my health class, was able to make an impact in someone else’s life.

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Comments (1)

  • Your story is so inspirational and gave me the chills.  You never know when something like that will happen.  It is so important to be prepared.  Thank you for being prepared!

    — Holly H.

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