CPR skills save man’s life at grocery store

Wallace EMT
Jun 25,2013

Benjamin Wallace, PA-C, went to Safeway on an errand, and ended up saving a life.

A physician assistant at Samaritan Heart & Vascular Institute, Wallace knew what to do when he heard someone in the next aisle say, “I don’t think he’s breathing.”

“I went over and saw a man lying on the ground,” Wallace said. “His face was blue.”

Also in the store that day was Jesse Looney, an emergency medical responder with the Lebanon Volunteer Fire Department. Safeway staff called 911 and Wallace and Looney began CPR on the man — with Wallace doing chest compressions, and Looney giving breaths.

“We gave him CPR for about two and a half minutes when the EMTs arrived,” Wallace said. “By that time, he was beginning to breathe.”

By the time the man was being loaded onto the ambulance, he’d come around and was talking. According to the emergency responders, if it were not for the quick action, teamwork and CPR provided by Wallace and Looney, the man would have died.

“I was very impressed that he (Looney) was prepared to do CPR and call for help and not panic,” Wallace said. “He was prepared.”

Wallace and Looney both train regularly in CPR, and Wallace uses the lifesaving technique at times as part of his work in the Heart Center.

“I think it is important for the general public to take CPR classes,” Wallace said. “You are not always going to have a health care provider around.  It’s a very stressful experience, and if you have some training and preparation, you have the opportunity to save somebody’s life.”

To find out about CPR classes offered in your community, call 541-768-5116, or visit samhealth.org/Classes and click on “CPR.”