Local man uses CPR to save life

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Robert Noles/Opelika Observer

By Hannah Lester
hlester@opelikaobserver.com

There was prickling in the back of Jon Brasher’s mind. Something was wrong.

Brasher was driving down the road, on his way to a Lowes, when he passed a truck driving erratically down the road. It eventually stopped in the middle of the road.

The driver of the truck ran from his seat, leaving the door ajar, to the passenger side.

A nagging thought — something’s not right here — passed through Brasher’s mind. But he kept driving.

“I couldn’t get that thought out of my head that ‘something bad is happening,’” he said.

He turned around and came back to the scene — the traffic light on Dean Road in front of Auburn Junior High.

The driver was standing on the passenger side.

“I don’t know CPR,” Brasher heard the driver say to someone on the phone.

Now, to back the story up a little bit, Brasher had recently taken a CPR course with his son.

“My son was the one who wanted to take the course,” he said. “And I wanted to do something with him.”

The course, run by Randy Boone of CarePoint, went over all the basics of CPR.

It hadn’t come in handy for Brasher until he saw that truck.

“I looked in the truck and the guy in the passenger seat, who turned out to be the driver’s father, was laid back over the console and he was just limp,” Brasher said. “And I said, ‘we’ve got to get him out on the ground.’”

Brasher jumped into action. 

“We got him down on the ground, and he was gasping, and his eyes were halfway open and he was dead,” he said.

Brasher started trying to rouse the man, with no response, so he started CPR compressions.

“I was just praying out loud, ‘Lord Jesus please don’t let this man die,’” he said.

An Auburn Police Officer arrived on the scene and began helping Brasher with CPR before EMTs arrived.

“They shocked him once and the machine started saying don’t shock, don’t shock,” Brasher said. “They weren’t seeing any signs of life but the machine was seeing it.”

The EMTS transported the victim to the hospital, who had a heartbeat at that point, and Brasher was left on the scene — shaken.

Brasher sent a text to Boone, who had taught him CPR: “I just did CPR on a man having a heart attack. I don’t know if he is going to make it.”

Boone and Brasher both attend Lakeview Baptist Church and had remained friends.

“I called Jon immediately to lend an ear and find out what the circumstances were,” Boone said. “When he answered, you could still hear the nervous energy in his voice. He told me what happened … as he described the situation, his voice began to crack with emotion and he said, ‘I didn’t realize I would respond this way.’

“I assured him that he had just seen and done something extraordinary and that we often are not prepared for how we might react. I reassured him that, based on what he shared with me, he and the other responders, had done everything needed to give the victim the best chance of survival that morning.”

Brasher said that in the moment he wasn’t even thinking about the situation or what he needed to do — he was just responding as needed.

“It didn’t hit me until later, like when I was driving away,” he said. “That’s when it suddenly becomes very real what had happened.”

Later — he contacted the victim’s employer to check on him, and see if he had lived. He was alive! The victim did need open heart surgery, however, but had lived, and was alert.

The officer who had arrived on scene shared the victim’s wife’s number with Brasher.

“So I called her and talked with her for a while, and he was in surgery and she was waiting to hear how things were going,” he said.

They shared with Brasher that he was released from the hospital and was doing okay.

“Sudden cardiac arrest is more common than we would like to believe,” Boone said, who recommends taking a CPR course and then refreshing it every two years.

Brasher said that the class helped him to learn step by step what he would need to do in that type of situation.

“Over 1,000 people in the U.S. each day will need the aid of a bystander and EMS personnel, and the most likely place for this to happen is at home or at work,” Boone said. “This means that the most likely person in need of your help will be a friend or loved one. CPR and AED training teaches you how to recognize when someone needs lifesaving treatment, how to properly perform CPR and how to use an AED to correct a life-threatening heart rhythm. 

“As a CPR Instructor and business owner, Jon’s story is my ‘why.’ I started teaching because I knew that laypeople have a greater opportunity to save Sudden Cardiac Arrest victims than even EMS providers. I knew that ordinary individuals, like Jon, are frequently put in situations where they can do extraordinary things like performing CPR to save someone’s life.”

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