Crossfit Box Owner Saves Gym-Goer's Life With AED

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The life of gym-goer in Evanston, Ill., was saved after the owner of the club where he was working out acted quickly and administered an AED to restart his heart. 

Illinois law requires that all gyms in the state have an AED in the facility, and Tani Mintz, owner of Sharp Edge Crossfit, calmly administered the device when Mike Fowler's heart stopped during an afternoon Crossfit class on Sunday. 

According to the Evanston Roundtable, the class was just starting and participants were practicing proper weight lifting form with PVC pipes. Fowler went down and was trying to catch his breath. Fowler was new to the gym, and Mintz asked him if he was alright. 

Fowler's breath did not look or sound right, so Mintz called 911. When she looked back to check on him, he was on his side and unresponsive. That's when she grabbed the AED from the office wall. 

“The machine is basically dummy-proof,” Mintz told the Roundtable. “You do what it tells you to do.” The machine’s LED read-out instructed shocking the patient. Mintz applied the pads, everyone stood back and the shock jolted Fowler’s body.

After the shock to Fowler's heart, the AED directed Mintz to begin compressions. CorDell Larkin, a gym-goer who present and also a doctor, stepped in. Mintz then pressed the button the AED that provides metronome beats for Larking to follow with his compressions. 

Fowler remained unconscious. 

Larkin ended up cracking two of Fowler's ribs, which Fowler said doctors told him was a sign Larkin was doing the compressions correctkly. 

Fowler eventually opened his eyes and said, "I'm sorry, guys, I ruined your class." 

Fowler suffered a second heart attack while in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, but one he reached the emergency room, doctors were able to insert a catheter up to his heart. The blockage was cleared and he spent two nights in the hospital. 

While the heart attack Fowler suffered was considered "exercise-induced", his doctors advised him to continue to exercise so long as he stays within an acceptable range. 

Mintz said the incident was an emotional ordeal and has since offered to pay 50 percent of the cost of CPR certification for any gym member who wants to learn. So far 24 people have signed up for the course. 

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