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Man reaches medical milestone after life saving AED from strangers

Posted at 10:34 PM, Jul 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-03 23:09:08-04

It's a milestone doctor's appointment Joe Harsel is happy to celebrate.

The one-year follow up after he nearly lost his life.

“Every day I feel like this, it’s miraculous.”

While the details are fuzzy, Harsel recalls one minute watching his son's swim meet. And then next, waking up at St. Joseph's Medical Center.

“It was something called sudden cardiac death. It was a cardiac arrest that actually stopped by heart, went into a very fast heartbeat and it just shut off.” 

“Typically when this happens you have about 1-6 minutes to change a patient’s chance at survival,” said Dr. Jeremy Pollock, St. Joseph Medical Center.

Thanks to some quick thinking, people nearby sprung into action.

“You don’t have to be a first responder, you don’t have to be a doctor or nurse or EMT. Anyone can use an AED. They are meant for a fifth-grade level of education,” said Dr. Pollock.

People nearby were able to perform CPR, apply and AED and call 911. Measures that ultimately saved Harsel's life.

“That’s the fear. We’re all worried that we’re going to do something that’s going to hurt someone. It would never do that. It is made only to provide electricity if it needs to in that situation. All you have to do is turn it on,” said Dr. Pollock

And Harsel is happy that people nearby did just that.

“I’m very grateful for what it’s done for our family and for the important people in my life since then,” said Harsel.

Now one year later, he is happy and healthy with a new lease on life.