AUSTIN (KXAN) — The American Heart Association estimates up 200,000 lives could be saved each year if CPR were performed early enough.
The Wright family of Central Austin knows that statistic to be true.
In April, William Wright — a busy high school student and Boy Scout — was studying in his room when he heard his mother screaming for help.
“I started screaming, ‘My dad is dead! My dad is dead!’” said Maria Wright of her 83-year-old father Dr. Jorge Ramirez, a recently retired radiologist visiting from Guatemala.
Ramirez’s heart had stopped, and no one around him knew CPR.
“When I was laying my dad on the floor, his funeral passed in front of me,” said Maria. “It was like I had an out-of-body experience. I could see something was happening, but I didn’t even have time to be shocked.”
Then, 15-year-old William — known as Will to his friends and family — came running to the family kitchen and performed CPR he learned as a Boy Scout.
“At the start of it, he was on the ground limp. He had no pulse. He was pretty much dead,” said Will.
For 10- to 15 minutes, Will kept trying to get his grandpa’s heart to beat when he finally got a pulse.
By that time, the ambulance had arrived and rushed Ramirez to Seton Medical Center, where Emergency Room Dr. John Bedolla took over.
“The studies show bystander CPR doubles the survival rate, and as important as that, doubles the chance a person walks away neurologically intact without a lot of brain damage,” says Bedolla.
Turns out, Bedolla was even more impressed after hearing that Will performed CPR.
“I teach Boy Scouts some of these courses, so I was very proud of him,” said Bedolla. “I gave him a fist bump and congratulated him and told him he probably saved his grandfather’s life.”
“I’m alive because of my grandson”
Ramirez is not only alive to celebrate his new life but his anniversary with his wife at his side in a home video they sent KXAN News from Guatemala.
“We are celebrating not only our 60th wedding anniversary but the life of Jorge because of Will,” says Will’s grandmother, Ana Sylvia Ramirez.
“I would have done what anyone would have done,” said Will. “Lots of Boy Scouts in America would have done the same thing.”
Meanwhile, Ramirez — in more ways than one — had a “Will” to live.
To find out where you can take a CPR class, head online. Classes are also offered by the American Red Cross.