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911 dispatcher helps 37-year-old survive a heart attack

911 dispatcher helps 37-year-old survive a heart attack (WRSP)

A Springfield woman didn't remember how to do CPR on her 37-year-old husband as he was suffering from a heart attack in September.

That's when a 911 dispatcher helped Sarah Kerley save her husband's life over the phone.

Early one morning John and Sarah Kerley were sleeping in their Springfield home when the worse case scenario unfolded.

Sarah Kerley says her husband was lifeless and turning purple.

"Pretty surreal, I probably even said, 'is this really happening?' I can't believe this is happening," Kerley said. My husband is 37-years-old. He's healthy."

That's when Dispatcher Ashley Martin stepped in.

"She talked me through everything that I needed to do including getting my 230 pound husband out of bed and onto the floor," Kerley said. "She talked me through compressions, assured me that the fire department was on their way and kept me calm, kept me doing what I needed to do. She's in large part why my family is still intact."

John Kerley says he doesn't remember the near death experience.

When he woke the next day, he couldn't believe what happened.

"It's incredible," said John Kerley. "It's remarkable. It's amazing. It's mind-blowing to think that one morning your heart can just stop, being 37 years old and no heart concerns. Your heart stops, but the technology and the people are well trained enough. I'm here. I'm alive, and I'm perfectly fine now."

John Kerley says he had no idea what 911 dispatch is capable of.

"You think of a dispatcher, you call 911, they send the firemen, they send the ambulance, they send the police officers," he said. "I didn't really realize how instrumental they were to saving my life and probably countless peoples' lives."

Tuesday, Sangamon County Board members honored Ashley Martin for helping save John Kerley's life.

Sarah Kerley is organizing a CPR course to help train others how to deal with emergency situations.

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