by Joan Andrews
South Hills Public Relations Specialist
with Jodie LeMaster
South Hills Webmaster
ALTOONA -- Members of the Health Careers Club at South Hills School of Business & Technology recently raised $1,750.00 for the purchase of an automated external defibrillator (AED) for its Altoona campus at 508 58th Street. South Hills School’s co-founder, Maralyn Mazza, and president, Paul Mazza III, responded to the students’ generosity by matching their contribution for the purchase of a second AED for the school's other Altoona campus facility at 541 58th Street.
The Health Careers Club members were inspired to purchase the life-saving device because of their medical instructor, Mary Prorok, RN, who in December 2015, had helped resuscitate Sam's Club employee, Norman Tucker, as he experienced sudden cardiac arrest while she was shopping at the store just two days before Christmas. Prorok spontaneously used her medical training and a nearby AED device to help save Tucker’s life.
South Hills held a special event to celebrate these AED donations, where Tucker was also present to share his story with the students. Tucker believes that access to more AEDs in the region could save many lives, and he congratulated the students for their thoughtful contributions for the life-saving equipment at South Hills.
More on Tucker's ordeal and miraculous recovery from the March 25, 2016 issue of UPMC's Extra, Extra newsletter:
“It’s a true miracle,” says his cardiologist, George Jabbour, MD, referring to the many individuals with training who were at Sam's Club at the time of his cardiac arrest. “For each minute a person’s heart is without oxygen, the odds of survival decrease by 10 percent. Generally, a patient with sudden cardiac arrest out of the hospital setting has a low chance of survival — about 90 percent of patients die.”
Norm calls the many people who assisted at Sam’s Club “my angels” because they provided superb care immediately upon his collapse. Store employee Lee Queen and customer Mary Prorok, RN, performed CPR, while employee Tim Garlick called 911. Another customer, Don Krug, had an automatic external defibrillator in his car to shock Norm’s heart back into rhythm.
Coincidentally, UPMC Altoona perfusionist Jeff Price saw Norman being treated at Sam’s Club. He alerted staff at the hospital and provided cardiac-thoracic surgeon Ed Woods and his team with information.
Norm’s triple bypass surgery was successful and his recovery went very well because he is a physically active 69-year-old.