ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Paul Harris has become Arlington’s prime example of how quick reactions can save lives. The 71-year old felt chest pains, light-headedness and shortness of breath in late February. “I knew this was very, very serious.”
Harris unlocked a door for medical personnel as he dialed 9-1-1 for help. “When they got there I was already on the floor.”
“We started to lose his pulse,” says firefighter Matthew Throne, who was one of the four emergency personnel who responded to Harris’ call. “We started CPR, we paced his heart, gave him some medicine and then he started talking to us.”
“The first ones there they saved my life,” Harris said. “Another minute or two at the most and I wouldn’t be here talking to you.”
All for emergency personnel were recognized by the Fire Department for their life saving action.
Harris was lucky help was nearby. Nearly 80-percent of the time heart attack victims do not recover. Numbers from the Arlington Fire Department show two-thirds of the time by-standers don’t aid the victim, usually because they do not want to perform mouth-to-mouth resusitation.
Arlington is starting a public service campaign to change that. A new video encourages “hands only” CPR and features appearances by famous actors and actresses, Texas Rangers players and Mayor Robert Cluck.
The idea is simple chest compression without mouth-to-mouth resusitation can still save lives. With this method, the video says, there’s no excuse to refuse a victim help.
“If there’s not somebody there helping in the first few minutes people’s chances of survival really go down,” Throne said.
“Its kind of a rare outcome, and we want that outcome,” said Jaime Lake, a paramedic who also aided Harris.
Their goal is to have plenty more surivivors like Harris living to tell their stories.