A 55-year-old man died about 200 feet from the finish line of the Baltimore half-marathon on October 15, but nearby runners and medical personnel resuscitated him, the Baltimore Sun reported.
A blockage in one of Bob Pohl’s arteries caused his blood to stop flowing and his heart to stop beating, but surrounding people – including a police officer, chiropractor, doctor and paramedic trainees – gave him CPR and shocked his heart.
"He went from dead to alive in a matter of minutes," said Dr. Cynthia Webb, chief of Union Memorial's emergency room who has been coordinating medical care at the Baltimore Running Festival for three years.
Webb said a half-marathon usually produces cramps, blisters and hyperthermia, but not heart attacks.
"He was really lucky, not that it happened, but where it happened," Webb said. "He could have been alone running in his neighborhood or home watching TV. It couldn't have been in a better place."
When the heart arrests, less than a third of patients get CPR or defibrillation in those crucial minutes following the attack – and approximately eight percent survive.
After Pohl, of Marriottsville, Md., had been resuscitated, Webb looked at the paper pinned to Pohl’s shirt and saw his emergency contact. She dialed Pohl’s wife, Karen, to let her know he was on the way to the hospital.
Karen Pohl found her son, Mike, who was also running the half-marathon, and a police officer took them to the hospital.
“We weren’t promised he’d make it,” Karen Pohl said. “It was such amazing circumstances. He had such a swarm of angels around him.”
At the hospital, doctors immediately cooled Pohl’s body to suspend the chemical reaction that can cause organ injury when blood supply is cut off.
Pohl didn’t wake up for several days, but he is now conscious and at home recuperating.