Ben Eversmeyer is happy to be alive, and he knows just who to thank for that.

Eversmeyer was walking across his living room just over a year ago (Jan. 2, 2022) when he fell to his knees and then dropped to his side, according to a news release.

“My wife noticed my eyes were rolled back in my head,” Eversmeyer said. “I had apparently gone into cardiac arrest.”

(photo courtesy City of Muscatine)

His wife called 911 and started CPR. The paramedics arrived just a mere 90 seconds after they were dispatched but it seemed a lifetime to the Eversmeyers. The paramedics took over CPR and used an automated external defibrillator (AED) to shock his heart.

“I had a pulse and was alert when they loaded me into the ambulance,” Eversmeyer said.

Eversmeyer was taken to the University of Iowa Hospital Emergency Room and talked with the paramedics as they unloaded him at the hospital. Three days later, Eversmeyer received an ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) and was released from the hospital the next day.

Ambulance Operations Chief Gary Ronzheimer along with Fire Captain Joe Timmsen, and firefighters Mike E. Collins and Josh Rudolph were on the crew that responded to and saved the life of Eversmeyer.

The odds of surviving a cardiac arrest are not good with 70 percent of adult cardiac arrests occurring at home. Only 11.4 percent of patients survive through discharge from a hospital. Everysmeyer was one of the lucky ones and the odds of his survival began when his wife began CPR, and increased higher with the quick response of Muscatine paramedics.

Eversmeyer’s recognition of the Muscatine paramedics highlight the skill and care provided by the Muscatine Fire Department during a sudden cardiac arrest event.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

The collapse of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin from a cardiac arrest during an NFL game with the Cincinnati Bengals brings home the swift change from living life to fighting for life that occurs with a cardiac arrest.

The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation states that out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates are low, an average of 10 percent, the release says. That increases to 30 percent when a bystander begins CPR, and increases to 50 percent when that bystander can use both CPR and an AED. The foundation urges the public to learn CPR and how to use an AED, to encourage CPR-AED education in schools, and to promote widespread deployment of AEDs in their community.

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges will be holding a Heartsaver class in Muscatine on March 23. The Heartsaver CPR/AED/First Aid class is open to everyone and instructs participants on how to handle basic first aid, medical, injury, and environmental emergencies. Heartsaver CPR for the adult, child, and infant including how to handle choking situations are covered based on the American Heart Association 2015 guides. Click HERE to learn more about this class.