Jefferson Hills man thanks colleagues who saved him after heart attack

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Like so many working people, Glenn Caldwell, a 56-year-old production worker at Guardian Industries in Jefferson Hills, counts on his co-workers.

In May, they helped save his life.

"I never thought the guys I work with on a daily basis would be the ones to save my life," said Mr. Caldwell, of South Hills, who collapsed of sudden cardiac arrest on the job.

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them. They gave me another chance at life."

On Thursday, Mr. Caldwell thanked those co-workers -- and the emergency medical teams -- as part of the Cardiac Save Program at the James Bibro Pavilion at Jefferson Regional Medical Center.

"I think you can summarize today's event and the events that happened in May with one word: teamwork," said Chong Park, medical director of the Heart Institute at Jefferson. "Without that teamwork, we wouldn't be able to celebrate Mr. Caldwell's victory."

One of those co-workers, John Yenny, a supervisor at the plant, was among the first to respond.

Mr. Yenny was familiar with heart attacks. After his grandfather died of one and his father survived one, Mr. Yenny decided he needed to know more about them and received training from the Jefferson Hills Emergency Medical Service.

He said he always thought someday he would have to cross that path again. He just didn't think it would be with one of his co-workers.

"All I was thinking was that we needed him to stay with us," Mr. Yenny said. "We did what we were trained to do."

Alongside Mr. Yenny, 50, of Daisytown, Cambria County, was Bob Kass, 53, of Jefferson Hills, who is a maintenance technician at Guardian Industries.

They both said Mr. Caldwell was on the floor not breathing and without a pulse. Mr. Kass performed chest compressions on Mr. Caldwell as he lay unresponsive while Mr. Yenny was preparing the defibrillator.

"We shocked him twice before paramedics arrived and they shocked him two more times," Mr. Kass said. "We thought we lost him when it got up to that many shocks."

When Mr. Caldwell was transported to the hospital, emergency and cardiac catheterization teams had to place stents into his heart to save his brain, said Renee Corley, cardiac charge nurse at Jefferson Regional Medical Center Emergency Department.

"We rarely get to see this side of the story," Ms. Corley said. "It's a blessing we get to see him again. His co-workers are the real heroes."

Mr. Caldwell was in the intensive care unit for a week. Since then, he has returned to home and work, and is neurologically intact.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 300,000 people suffer sudden cardiac arrest nationwide each year and 95 percent of them die before reaching the hospital.

"The doctors told me I had guardian angels watching over me," Mr. Caldwell said. "All the stars aligned bright that night."

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