Man Uses Facebook to Find the Strangers Who Saved His Life With CPR
Facebook continues to confirm its efficiency as a way to locate belongings and people.
On January 15, 44-year-old Bill Amirault suffered a cardiac incident during a half-marathon in Key West, Florida — but he was kept alive by good Samaritans until the paramedics arrived. As he recovered in the hospital, he posted a heartfelt Facebook video, hoping to locate the strangers who had saved his life. It took less than 24 hours for him to succeed.
Amirault, who lived in Florida for years before moving to Colorado, told Miami television station WSVN that he had run the Key West Half Marathon many times, in addition to other marathons.
“It had been about four years since I’d done one,” he said, “so this was the first time in a while, but I was looking forward to it.”
But as he was turning the final corner, Amirault suddenly collapsed. As he would later learn, he was experiencing ventricular arrhythmia, a heart problem which cuts off blood flow to the brain and requires immediate medical attention.
Fortunately for Amirault, several people nearby knew what to do in these emergencies. Among them was 39-year-old Amy Smythe from Delaware, a nurse at the cardiovascular unit at Christiana Care’s Christiana Hospital. Smythe has just finished the race, beating her personal half marathon record by 20 minutes.
“It was fate that I had finished early,” Smythe told Milwaukee television station WDJT.
Smythe rushed over to the collapsed man, along with two other people, who were later identified as a neonatal nurse, and an anesthesiologist. Together, they performed CPR on Amirault, keeping his heart pumping until the paramedics reached the scene and took him to Mount Sinai Medical Center.
After Amirault regained consciousness, he followed the local news, hoping to learn the names of the people who had saved his life. When that failed, he decided to try Facebook, even though he told WDJT that he “never really used social media.”
From his hospital bed, Amirault recorded a video describing his ordeal, and asking people to share the video as much as possible, in the hope that it could reach the people who saved him. The video went viral, and the good Samaritans, including Smythe, were identified in less than 24 hours. Amirault was able to speak to them on the phone to thank them.
Smythe, who told WDJT she hadn’t stopped thinking about the man since the paramedics took him away, was surprised when word of the video reached her.
“I was so overwhelmed,” she said. “I immediately was in tears.”
Amirault ends his video with a message about the importance of knowing CPR, as emergencies can occur at any time:
“If you don’t know CPR – I don’t, and I plan on learning as soon as I am able to, as soon as I recover, and I encourage you to do the same, he says. “Those three minutes were so critical, and if there was nobody in the crowd that knew it, I wouldn’t be here today, or would probably have brain damage.”
Your Daily Dish reached out to Bill Amirault and Amy Smythe for comment.