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Akron, Ohio – Studies have shown that performing CPR can significantly increase cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival, and John Ganley, 49, of Hudson, understands the importance of CPR better than most.
In June, Ganley went to his men’s over-40 softball league game feeling completely normal and ended his evening in the hospital after suffering a heart attack. An upset stomach in the seventh inning caused him to vomit, but wasn’t alarming. He decided to play catcher as a way of ‘taking it easy” for the remainder of the game.
“I remember catching one pitch, and then waking up in the hospital,” recalled Ganley, who collapsed after that pitch. Later, his family and teammates told Ganley he had stopped breathing and had no pulse.
Dee Edwards, a teammate, and Thad Bosman, a member of the opposing team immediately began CPR while others called 911. When emergency personnel arrived, they used an AED in an effort to restart Ganley’s heart. The spouse of one of Ganley’s teammates contacted his wife and family, and they rushed to Summa Akron City Hospital.
His physician in the emergency room, Michael Hughes, MD, MBA, FACC, put a stent into a main artery. The type of heart attack that he suffered commonly referred to as the “widow maker” because sudden occlusion of this artery can often lead to death. Ganley was also placed into a coma along with a cooling suit to prevent brain damage.
His recovery, thus far, has been very successful. With regular medical care, a healthy diet and medications, Ganley is expected to resume his normal activities.
Generally considering himself to be fit, active, and a healthy eater, the heart attack came as a surprise to everyone that knows him. His regular cardiologist told him, had he visited the day before, it was unlikely doctors would have found anything wrong with him.
Because there was no family history of heart disease and he had always been considered to be in good health, Ganley feels passionately about the value knowing how to perform CPR can bring to anyone and everyone’s life.
“Every day I wake up and hug my wife and kids,” said Ganley. “We’re a lot more aware of the things that can happen.”
Eighty percent of sudden cardiac arrests happen in private or residential settings. Unlike Ganley’s experience where bystanders who were trained in CPR began performing the life-saving technique, only 41 percent of people who experience a sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital get the immediate help they need before emergency personnel arrive.
Ganley, his wife Lisa, and their three sons, Tyler, Connor and Austin – along with a number of his softball teammates – are planning to get trained in CPR.
“I’m going to promote CPR and how it saved my life,” said Ganley. “Your health is important, and you never know what you don’t have until you don’t have it.”
For more information about CPR and heart health, please contact the local American Heart Association office at 330-664-1902 or visit www.heart.org.