Off-duty EMT saves man suffering cardiac arrest in grocery store

Abigail Eanes jumped out of line at a Food Lion when she heard screaming and began treating the man who wassuffering cardiac arrest in a motorized cart

By Jeff Hampton
The Virginian-Pilot

MANTEO, N.C.— Abigail Eanes was standing in line at a Food Lion in Elizabeth City last week to pay for her groceries when she heard screaming.

A cashier at a nearby register pointed to a man seated in a motorized cart with his head back and his eyes staring upward.

Eanes, an emergency medical technician from Dare County, left her place in line and hurried toward the man. She realized he was in cardiac arrest. Immediately, her lifesaving training kicked in.

She told someone to call 911. Standing 5-foot-3-inches tall, Eanes asked for help getting the large man to the floor. She began compressions on his chest to keep blood flowing. An off-duty firefighter retrieved a device used for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The pair performed CPR until emergency medical crews arrived.

"It happened so fast, yet it was like it was in slow motion," Eanes, 24, said over the phone Tuesday. "I just ran over there and did what had to be done to make sure this man could go back to his family."

Paramedics shocked him three times with a defibrillator before he regained a pulse, and whisked him off to the hospital. He was released four days later, said Tom Francisco, deputy chief of Dare County EMS.

"I understand he is doing well now," he said.

On Monday, Eanes was awarded a certificate of appreciation and a CPR Save Challenge Coin from Josh Smith, deputy director of Pasquotank-Camden EMS.

Dare County EMS offers classes on CPR and on use of a defibrillator, Francisco said. Anyone interested can call 252-475-5714 for information.

Eanes said she learned CPR when she was 14 years old. She wanted to be prepared in case of an emergency while she did babysitting jobs. Two years ago, she began training and working on an ambulance crew. She has helped save people while on duty, but this is the first time she's saved someone on the spur of the moment.

Copyright 2017 The Virginian-Pilot

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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