Man meets firefighters who saved his life after cardiac arrest

CUTLERVILLE, Mich. -- A grateful family got the chance to thank some Cutlerville firefighters for saving a man's life.  The fire department says a piece of medical technology also played an important role in their efforts.

The department has had an automatic CPR device for three years, and says it has helped save a lot of lives.  Thursday was the first time firefighters have met one of the people they helped save with it.

On Feb. 26, John Hey suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed while playing basketball at South Christian High School.

"I've heard from the doctors how few people survived what I had," Hey said.

"The doctor said 'Your husband suffered cardiac death syndrome,'" Hey's wife Mary said. "And I was like 'What?' And he said 'cardiac arrest has so few survivals that they call it cardiac death syndrome."

John and his family got the chance to thank the Cutlerville Fire Department for playing a major role in saving his life. It's an opportunity they've been looking forward to.

"It's emotional, it brings back memories of what happened. It's humbling."" Mary Hey said.

John Hey survived thanks in part to the fire department's automated compression device that does CPR.

"When we hook it up it does the perfect rate of compressions for us, the perfect depth and it frees me up on the scene to do other activities," said Cutlerville Fire Department Capt. Mark Grooters.

The device doesn't fatigue, and kept John's heart pumping all the way to the hospital.

“And seeing how aggressive it was in doing chest compressions and knowing that it was needed to keep me going and go to Metro [Hospital], It’s amazing to see," John Hey said. "I’m so glad Cutlerville had that."

Emergency responders don't always get to see the outcome from the life-saving work they do, which made John's visit very special.

"We really like to see who we've helped," Grooters said. "It's appreciative."

John says he's looking forward to playing basketball again, but will first wait to get the 'OK' from his cardiologist.

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