How one man’s sudden cardiac arrest was intercepted under the Friday night lights
Bob and Elaine Rud have a tradition. Every Friday, during the high school football season, you can find them seated in row 8 on the 50-yard line watching their grandson play football.
Friday, September 3, 2021, was no different, except that it was an extra special day. Their oldest grandson turned 17 and it was Bob and Elaine’s 55th wedding anniversary.
Elaine said, “the day started like any other, he is a Mondovi school bus driver and drove the morning and afternoon routes.” She and Bob watched movies in their Mondovi, Wisconsin home, and he felt fine. They got to the game an hour early, as they usually do, to get food and watch the Buffaloes warmup.
Standing for the National Anthem and falling down Elaine describes what happened when she and Bob stood up for the singing of the National Anthem. “I heard Bob let out a groan. I looked up at him, his eyes were rolled back in his head. His whole body was stiff, like a statue, his face and hands were as white as snow. I screamed, “Call 911, get an AED, get an AED, get an AED.” Friends and fire and rescue personnel ran over to start chest compressions, they continued until the AED arrived.
What Elaine didn’t realize at the time, was that a HeartStart OnSite AED was located all the way across the football, baseball and practice fields. Luckily, both the track coach and assistant football coaches, heard her screams for help, one of who is their youngest son, Chris. The track coach sprinted across the three fields, retrieved the AED and on his way back handed it off to other staff, who ran it to Chris, who ran it up to the bleachers and handed it to Elaine. She remembers that while all this was happening, other school staff helped cut away Bob’s blue t-shirt and sweatshirt, then and immediately applied the electrode pads to his chest.
The OnSite AED analyzed Bob’s heart rhythm and the AED indicated a shock was advised. “We followed the commands, I was clearing Bob’s lifeless body for shocks to be delivered, fire and rescue personnel resumed chest compressions. We continued to work on Bob–and were advised by the AED to give three shocks.”
The Mondovi volunteer ambulance was instructed to move to the northside of the bleachers for transport to the hospital. In the ambulance, on the way to the hospital, Elaine and two personnel from the Mondovi Fire and Rescue monitored Bob’s heart rhythm and oxygen, as the AED advised to do 2 more shocks.
Overall, it took more than a half dozen shocks to restart his heart. Bob had triple bypass surgery, spent two weeks in the hospital and completed three months of cardiac rehab. Miraculously, he had no neurological damage.
Today, he’s feeling much stronger according to Elaine, and goes for walks, cuts firewood and drives for the Amish; all things he enjoys doing and was able to resume after recovering from his sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
Elaine realizes the importance of having an AED nearby that September day. “The outcome would have been very different if we did not have an AED at the high school. We all realize it’s the AED that helped saved Bob’s life. Chest compressions will buy you time; they’ll get blood flowing, but I knew that he had to have that AED to live.” Elaine continued, “when our youngest son handed me the AED, I looked in his hand and I knew Bob would be okay. I knew he had to be shocked into a regular (heart) rhythm.”
Bob’s cardiac arrest motivated the Mondovi ambulance to get a portable AED to bring out to community events, and the high school to install a Philips HeartStart OnSite AED in the announcer’s box at the football field and closer to the bleachers in case there is another SCA.
Having more ways to access a HeartStart AED in public places, gives Elaine peace of mind. “It’s light. It’s compact. When you open it, it tells you exactly what to do with clear, direct commands. It is the miracle machine that saved Bob’s life.” Bob tells his 14 grandchildren that he died once and came back to life again, acknowledging that next September 3rd, will be not only his 56th wedding anniversary, but also his second birthday.