JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - RELATED: Action News Jax investigation: What makes it so hard to find defibrillators in Jacksonville?
Five weeks after going into sudden cardiac arrest, Mitch Trager can talk with the two firefighters who saved his life.
On that day, he was at Bailey’s Gym in Jacksonville Beach for what seemed like a normal day of exercise.
Trager said the last memory he has is of him walking down the stairs on his way to the locker room.
“A friend told me that he saw me on the floor in the restroom,” Trager said.
David Womack and Tony Benso, two firefighters with Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, were off-duty and working out at the gym.
“Somebody came running out, yelling for a doctor,” Womack recalled.
“He was down, unresponsive,” Benso said.
Womack began CPR, while Benso grabbed the gym’s automated external defibrillator (AED).
In a matter of minutes, the firefighters revived Trager, who remembers waking up in an ambulance.
Trager was fortunate. A recent Action News Jax investigation uncovered that 350,000 Americans suffered sudden cardiac arrest in 2016. Only 12 percent survived.
“I feel like I got an extra chance,” Trager said. “If it wasn’t for the defib, I would not be here right now.”
Our previous investigation revealed that AEDs are often hard to find, because laws requiring them aren't enforced, if they exist at all. This defibrillator WAS there when needed. https://t.co/2VfJddkzI4— Kevin Clark (@KevinANjax) March 9, 2018
The investigation also revealed that defibrillators are often hard to find, because laws requiring them aren’t often enforced, if they exist at all.
Womack and Benso saved Trager’s life, but they say it was the defibrillator that made the difference.
“We did CPR, the defibrillator is what really made the change in his life,” Womack said.
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