It was the perfect New England fall Sunday for the annual American Heart Association golf tournament at the East Mountain Country Club in Westfield, Massachusetts. For a few years, co-owners Ted and Mark Perez have been holding a turkey shoot scramble in honor of their dad, who is age 80 and has had heart issues.
They were very pleased that 40 golfers were enjoying their favorite pastime while benefitting a cause near and dear to their hearts.
Mid-afternoon, Bob Genereux, Sr. was soaking in the sun, the game, and the camaraderie on the 10th green when suddenly he collapsed. Ted Perez was up at the clubhouse when he saw his father’s golf cart coming up the road toward him.
At the same time, he noticed people waving on the 10th green and someone lying on the ground. When his father was within earshot, he said, “Bob fainted. Can you go open the gate for the ambulance?”
“I should have gotten the AED right then and there,” said Ted. “But between my father saying that Bob had fainted and remembering the year before that someone had gone down on the same green after being hit by a ball, I was not thinking cardiac arrest.”
CPR for First Aid
After Ted opened the nearby gate, he ran over to the 10th green. Ron LeVoie, who was playing at the adjacent hole, had already begun administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to Bob. “Bob was gray-purple in color,” Ted said. Ron checked his vital signs and found nothing. Ron’s wife, Julie, was talking to Bob, “Come on Bob, talk to me, Bob,” but he was not responding. Now Ted was thinking cardiac arrest.
Ted hopped in a golf cart and quickly drove back to the clubhouse, then ran in to retrieve the automated external defibrillator (AED). He met up with Bob’s daughter-in-law, and she and Ted sped back down to the green in Ted’s car. Now two more golfers, Paul Niznik, the owner of a local medical staffing company, and Frank Rice, had taken over CPR and giving rescue breaths.
AED Save Another Life
Ron and Frank quickly removed Bob’s turtleneck and sweatshirt, and Ted attached the AED electrodes and turned on the unit. After analyzing Bob, the ZOLL AED Plus® recommended a shock. Ted pushed the Shock button. Immediately after the shock was delivered, Frank continued CPR.
The AED Plus instructed him to “Push Harder.” A second analysis also recommended a shock. Finally, the second shock was followed by a gasp.
After a few more minutes, the police arrived and took over CPR until the ambulance came to take Bob to a local hospital. Just then Bob’s wife, Sheila, came onto the green after getting a call from her daughter-in-law.
When Sheila got there, Bob was already in the ambulance and she thought the worst. “The ambulance wasn’t moving, and all the people looked ashen. I thought everyone knew he was dead and they weren’t telling me.”
It was another 10 minutes before the ambulance transported Bob to Baystate Medical Center. He was put on medication, and less than a week after his collapse, he was released.
Back on the Course
A few days after that, Bob was back on East Mountain’s 10th green. But it was not to play golf yet. He had called the local television reporters so he could tell his story.
“We knew a lot of people were haunted at the course,” said Sheila, “and we wanted to let people know that Bob was okay and to encourage others to have AEDs on golf courses and in other public places.”
“Every golf course should have an AED,” said Bob less than two weeks after the incident. ”If you stop and think, golf courses aren’t very close to fire stations. They are out in the country. It’s all about time. If they hadn’t had one, I wouldn’t be here. There was enough time before police and fire got there that I don’t think it would have been in time. Three people jumped in to help me with CPR and Ted got the AED. It was like a well-choreographed play and everything fell into place. I call them my guardian angels. I won the lottery. And I can’t wait to get out on the course again!”
The Reason You Need ZOLL AED Plus
Mark Perez said the club purchased the AED Plus just two and a half years ago after his wife, a nurse, finally convinced him and his family to get one. “We knew we needed to get an AED, but we didn’t want to make the leap. It is a family business, so I talked it over with my mom, my brother, and my sister, and we decided we should have one.
My dad has a lot of heart problems, and we know the importance of AEDs and CPR. Over the past 50 years, I can count five or six golfers who’ve had cardiac arrests on the course and didn’t make it. Bob was the first person we were able to save. It was the first time we’d used the AED, and we’re one for one.”
“There are so many pieces to the puzzle,” said Paul, who has helped save four previous lives during his long career in the medical field. “To have the people who know what they are doing and how to do it, to have an AED—who expects an AED device? to have good response times for starting CPR, to getting the AED, to the police and EMTs getting here so quickly. To have all of that in a row, I can’t think of anything more a person could ask for.
Every puzzle piece was there for him, and it was really something. Without that AED, forget it.” “Bob was given a second chance because of the AED” said Ted. Bob concurs, “I owe my life to it.”