Saving a life: How to react in an emergency and increase survival rate

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When Tim Harshman woke up on a spring morning in May 2006, he felt off.

“He had left for work and I knew when he left, he didn’t feel well,” said wife, Lisa Harshman. “He was kind of sweaty and kind of sluggish.”

Roughly 30 minutes after he left for work, the wife’s phone rang.

“It was a friend of ours because we both worked in the operating room together and it was a very scary time,” she said. “I didn’t know what to think, she didn’t want to give me details, she basically said get to the hospital as quick as possible.

Lisa and Tim both worked at a hospital in Jacksonville. During a case that morning, Tim collapsed in the operating room.

“Apparently he was just standing there in the case and collapsed,” Lisa explained. “At first he was still awake and they thought maybe he was having a seizure, they didn’t really know what was happening and then within minutes they lost his pulse and he was in complete cardiac arrest.”

At 39 years old, Tim had a massive heart attack, known as the widowmaker heart attack.

“I was shocked 13 times to keep me alive,” Tim said.


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