L.A. Marathon Cardiac Arrest Survivor Reunites With Rescuers and Hospital Staff

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Los Angeles Fire Department personnel and members of the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center staff were reunited Thursday with the LA Marathon runner who suffered a cardiac arrest during the March 15, 2015, race. Chuck Gold, 61, had the opportunity to meet and personally thank the firefighters, paramedics and doctors who cared for him after he collapsed during the run.

“Every day, the Los Angeles Fire Department responds to hundreds of emergencies but rarely do we get the opportunity to spend time with those we meet while we’re on the job,” Fire Chief Ralph M. Terrazas said. “Our crew reacted in seconds and helped turn tragedy into joy, proving once again that that early cardiac defibrillation saves lives. I am thrilled to be able to shake Chuck’s hand today and look forward to seeing him out on the course again next year. “

Chuck Gold expressed his gratitude for the care of the firefighters, paramedics, and doctors who saved him saying, “It came to my attention that this type of event is rarely survived and their quick work is the reason that I was able to recover. I’ve been back to my running, albeit a little more slowly, a little more cautiously, but thanks to the great care I got at the scene, I’m looking forward to meeting and shaking the hands of the people who were responsible for my recovery.”

“If Mr. Gold had had this event happen in bed, the outcome would have been much different,” said Dr. Mark Morocco, associate clinical professor and emergency room physician at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. “He happens to be, I think, the luckiest man in Los Angeles this morning.” Dr. Morroco continued, “The automatic external defibrillator…is so important because they [the firefighters] were able to defibrillate and shock his heart back into a normal rhythm within a minute or so of his arrest and that made all the difference from our perspective.”

The LAFD responds to more than 8,000 calls every week, most of which are medical-related. As the Department continues to be a national leader in saving lives, it has also looked for ways to make better use of technology. In March, the LAFD joined the PulsePoint Foundation, partnering with the organization and its free PulsePoint app that alerts users to nearby cardiac events to ensure Angelenos have another crucial tool at their fingertips to help save lives.

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