First Responders save Surfer Dave


SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Dave Schroeder never dreamed his morning surfing would end with him in the hospital and on the six o’clock news. But thanks to CPR skills his friend didn’t even have, Schroeder can tell his story. CPR is one of the most important skills you can learn. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, a person in cardiac arrest who receives CPR from a bystander is twice as likely to be alive a month later than someone who did not.

“It’s a miracle, it really is, and I am blessed beyond belief to still be standing here, to go back out and surf with my friends and be able to take my kids to school in the morning,” said Schroeder.

Schroeder and his buddy, Jesse Hindman, were coming in from an hour of surfing. When Hindman saw Schroeder collapse on the rocks and get washed back into the surf. Hindman got to him in just a couple of minutes and started giving rescue breaths, even though he doesn’t know CPR.

“I’m basically sitting there waist high in water with him and there’s nothing else I could really think of than try to do that,” Hindman explained.

Officer Matt Alvernaz with the San Diego PD and his partner happened to be a block away and were there in less than 2 minutes to help bystanders pull Schroeder out of the waves. Moments later, lifeguards and firefighters joined the rescue effort.

Alvernaz said, “It was just amazing. Everyone did their jobs. Everyone knew what to do. Everyone took direction as needed. No one argued and everyone, all we cared about was, ‘let’s save this guy.’“

When an AED got Schroeder’s heart beating again, a helicopter took him to the trauma unit at UCSD’s Hillcrest Hospital, where Allison Berndtson, MD, assistant clinical professor at the division of trauma was waiting.

She gave a lot of credit to first responders for Schroeder’s survival.

“Despite the fact that he had needed CPR in the field and had been pulseless for ten minutes before he arrived here, that he has completely recovered and doesn’t have any deficits, which we don’t see very often,” Dr. Berndtson told Ivanhoe.

Besides nearly drowning that day, Schroeder learned a 90 percent blockage in an artery to his heart is what caused him to pass out.

“Life is a pretty good thing, and take whatever steps you need to prolong that,” said Schroeder.

Schroeder has a family history of heart disease. He now urges everyone to talk to their families and doctors to find out about their families’ health history. He said a couple of friends have already learned about risk factors they didn’t know about. Dr. Berndtson also encourages everyone to get CPR certified. CPR has been simplified, and courses are offered by the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association and many community organizations.

Contributors to this news report include: Wendi Chioji, Field Producer; Rusty Reed, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.


REPORT #2337

BACKGROUND: Dave Schroeder enjoyed surfing, but one morning it did not go as planned. Dave’s friend Jesse Hindman saw Dave collapse on the rocks and be washed back into the surf. He later found out that his reason for passing out was a blockage in an artery to his heart. Symptoms of a blocked artery include chest pain, tightness, and shortness of breath. A stress test can determine if the symptoms are caused by a blocked artery or something else, so it is essential to see a doctor if you notice these symptoms. Success rates of clearing blockages are 90 to 95%, so it is important to know that it can be treated.


THE STUDY: Even though at first it was undetermined what the cause for Dave’s unconsciousness was, his friend Jesse started giving him rescue breathes, even though he did not know CPR. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique useful in many emergencies, including heart attack or near drowning, in which someone’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped. It’s far better to do something than to do nothing at all even if you’re fearful that your knowledge or abilities aren’t 100% complete. If you’re not trained in CPR, then provide hands-only CPR. That means uninterrupted chest compressions of 100 to 120 a minute until paramedics arrive. If you’re well-trained and confident in your ability, begin with chest compressions instead of first checking the airway and doing rescue breathing. Start CPR with 30 chest compressions before checking the airway and giving rescue breaths. The American Heart Association uses the acronym of CAB (compressions, airway, and breathing) to help people remember the order to perform the steps of CPR. Thankfully police officers, lifeguards, and firefighters came to Dave’s rescue and an AED (automated external defibrillator) got his heart beating again.


CPR CERTIFIED: Knowing CPR is not just for lifeguards and babysitters, it is beneficial for anyone to know and it could save a life someday. Getting trained and certified is very easy, simply go to the American Red Cross website and you can find a CPR class near you. You can choose to take an online class, go to a classroom, or take a blended class of online and classroom work together. There are many classes so it is easy to find one that fits your location and schedule. There are different techniques for adults, children, and babies, and a CPR course should cover all of the basics.


* For More Information, Contact:

Susan Sapia


Michelle Brubaker

Senior Communications and Media Relations Manager

UC San Diego Health Marketing and Communications


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