NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Chaotic moments are nothing new to Jimmy Hankins. He served two tours in Iraq with the Army National Guard so he knows what to do when the pressure’s on.
“I was just praying that he made it,” said Hankins.
This time the medical emergency was not on the battlefield but at his place of business.
“If it’s going to happen, we had the right people at the right time and with the right equipment in order to handle the situation,” said Hankins.
A 74-year-old man collapsed after enjoying a night of Zydeco dancing at Rock 'n' Bowl Thursday. Laura Pizzano, a cardiac nurse from New Jersey, was visiting her sister in New Orleans and just happened to be there when help was needed.
“I was really worried. Out of hospital cardiac arrest doesn’t have a very high success rate of survival, you know. Seeing him get a pulse back brought tears to my eyes, and by the time paramedics got there, they said, ‘You are a very lucky man,’ and he smiled, so I was like, alright this is good,” said Pizzano.
Cindi Verret, a local nurse, tells us she too jumped in to help with chest compressions.
“I’m so glad I got to be there to help him. I was worried he wasn’t going to make it because I know he was dead at one point, he was dead, he was not breathing, there was no pulse. I’m just glad there was other people there too that were knowledgeable and well-equipped and very professional that were able to help this man as well,” said Verret.
Those nurses and Hankins were in the right place at the right time. Hankins never thought he would have to use the defibrillator he recently purchased for Rock 'n’ Bowl, where he’s the general manager. But he knew exactly what to do when the time came.
“We shocked him a second go round and immediately was able to get a pulse, and he started breathing on his own. Eight minutes later, EMS showed up and took over, and before the gentleman left, he was talking and breathing on his own,” said Hankins.
He was revived from cardiac arrest. Now, his family is thankful for what they call the selfless first responders and their heroic actions.
“You guys are just a blessing in our lives, and we can’t thank you enough for doing what you did to help our Dad, and you kept working on him until the result that came through which was his gasp of air to breath again. So,we’re just so thankful to God that you were at the right place at the right time and we’re able to be there for him,” said Anna Maria Hazel, the victim’s daughter.
Hazel tells us her father is doing well and is awaiting surgery. She expects him to make a recovery and be back on his feet soon.
His family says his cardiac arrest stopped his heart and breathing, rendering him dead. They say the CPR and defibrillator saved his life, and they’re thankful Rock 'n' Bowl had that equipment on site.