The Right Place at the Right Time: Stranded Motorist Aids Heart Attack Victim Moments after his Assist

Victor Giesbrecht helped Sara Berg fix a flat tire and, in turn, Berg helped save Giesbrecht’s life when he had a heart attack. Berg and her cousin Lisa Meier got a flat tire on the freeway, and before the women could try to change the tire, Giesbrecht and his wife, Ann, pulled over and offered to help. When 61-year-old Giesbrecht finished changing the tire, Berg thanked him, and he told her, “Someone put me in the right place at the right time,” she recalled Monday.

After being thanked again, the Giesbrechts, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, pulled their truck back onto eastbound freeway. Berg and Meier followed shortly thereafter, talking about how nice it was for the couple to stop and help them. Just down the road, the women saw that the Giesbrechts had pulled onto the shoulder. Initially, Berg thought maybe they were waiting to make sure she and her cousin were back on the road. She passed their truck, pulled over and saw Ann Giesbrecht waving her arms.

Berg got out of her vehicle and found Giesbrecht unconscious and not breathing.  She immediately jumped into his truck and began performing CPR. Fortunately, Berg is a Mayo Clinic Health System Home Health & Hospice employee trained in CPR. Less than two minutes later a sheriff and a reserve deputy arrived to the scene with an automated external defibrillator (AED). The portable electronic devices are used to try to restore normal heart rhythm to patients in cardiac arrest. Once Giesbrecht had been removed from the truck and the AED had been properly placed, the machine indicated a shock was necessary. After the device delivered three separate shocks, Sampson felt a pulse, and Giesbrecht began breathing. Giesbrecht was then airlifted to Mayo Clinic Health System.

“The key here is he got help right away,” said Newton, highlighting Berg’s quick action to perform CPR, the arrival of the deputies with the defibrillator and the Mayo One helicopter with its medical personnel. Ann Giesbrecht said she and her family will be forever in the debt of Meier and Berg, who she spoke to the following night, telling her “she actually saved his life.” Victor Giesbrecht “always wants to stop” and help when he sees stranded motorists, his wife said. “He’s the type of person who gives you 100 percent and worries about himself later.” Ann Giesbrecht thanked the staff at Mayo Clinic Health System, the Dunn County deputies and the Mayo One flight crew. “We’ve had such terrific care,” she said. “People are so nice.”

It was beneficial the Dunn County deputies had an AED with them. Dunn County Sheriff, Dennis Smith, couldn’t agree more. His personnel have had the devices – purchased with money raised through local fundraisers – in their cars for several years. State troopers don’t carry the devices with them, nor do Chippewa County sheriff’s deputies, officials said. Deputies in Eau Claire County do – thanks to grant awards and donations from the Masonic Temple, Sheriff Ron Cramer said.

Curious about AEDs and if  you should have one at home? Read more @



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