Two men were honored for performing CPR and using a defibrillation device to revive a man who went into sudden cardiac arrest while playing paddle tennis in Deerfield.
Steve Farber, Todd Siau and Jon Gault were playing paddle ball at a recreation center in Deerfield on an evening in October.
Farber and Gault were on their third match of the evening when Farber fell to his knees and went down face-first into the court.
“I got really dizzy as I was waiting for Jon to serve and everything went white,” Farber said. “In my mind, I put up my hand and said ‘wait a minute, guys’ and then rested on my knees”
Gault, having gone through cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) training, knew something was wrong.
He dropped his paddle, ran across the court and yelled for someone to call 911.
“When I got to Steve, he was barely breathing and had an extremely weak pulse,” Gault said.
“I started doing compressions right away and yelled for someone to get the AED. While doing compressions, I lost Steve’s pulse. But his pulse returned after using the AED, and he was able to talk again by the time the paramedics took over,” Gault said.
Farber was transported to NorthShore Highland Park Hospital where he had a stent placed in his circumflex artery.
After surgery, his doctor ran tests and placed a second stent in his left anterior descending artery.
He was able to return home and was back at Glenbrook South High School where he works as a high school math teacher the following week.
“My recovery is a testament to Jon,” Farber said. “He was so fast in responding, and I’m thankful he was just on the other side of the court. Thanks to him, I had little to no damage to my heart and no damage to my brain or cognitive function.”
For Gault, having the right skills to act as a first responder is a passion.
He first received CPR training as a lifeguard in high school and later received ENT training and eventually worked in an emergency room as a tech. He now works in medical device sales.
“I think it’s so important to be prepared for these types of situations,” Gault said. “Thankfully, my training kicked in fast and I was able to jump right into CPR protocol to help Steve.”
NorthShore hospital officials said prompt CPR and AED application “is truly a lifesaver” in these types of situations.
Neurologic damage begins about four minutes after the heart stops.
Early CPR to pump blood through the heart can double or triple a person’s chance of survival, hospital officials said.
“Bystander CPR saves lives,” said Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, a cardiologist with the NorthShore Cardiovascular Institute.
“Steve was very lucky because he was able to get prompt CPR, prompt defibrillation and because he got that, we were able to restore blood flow to the rest of his body,” Rosenberg said.
Farber goes to physical therapy and rehabilitation three days a week now.
“I’ve made a few changes to my lifestyle – getting more sleep and eating much better,” he said. “I’m trying to be as healthy as I can so I can get all of my (biometric) numbers back in line.”
Farber no longer plays paddle tennis competitively. He and Gault plan to stay in touch and look forward to playing golf together when the weather warms up.
Siau and Gault received lifesaving certificates late last month during a ceremony.
“I’m so grateful Jon was there – it was his CPR and AED training that truly made a difference and saved my life,” Farber said.