***image1***After returning home from a March 22 bicycle ride, retired Air Force Staff Sgt. Eugene Scott greeted his German wife of 45 years, suffered a heart attack and collapsed into a chair.
“He was gone,” said Gertrude Scott. “I called right away for help.”
Help arrived in the form of her upstairs tenant, 1st Lt. Karla Clarke, a nurse with the 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, Miesau, who spends most of her time working in the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Pediatrics Clinic.
Lieutenant Clarke and her husband, Richard, ran downstairs to see what they could do. Mrs. Scott was screaming that he had suffered a stroke, but the lieutenant immediately recognized that it was a heart attack.
“He was pale and pasty,” said Lt. Clarke. “I felt his pulse and it had stopped. He was dead for two minutes.”
A CPR veteran, she went in to what can be described as autopilot, effortlessly directing the people around her as to what they should do. Her husband performed chest compressions while she gave mouth to mouth and awaited a pulse. What happened next shocked her.
“He came to (consciousness) and gasped,” she said. “I was really startled because it’s not normal for CPR to jumpstart a heart back to life. Usually it takes an electrical impulse. CPR just helps circulate oxygen to the brain until the electricity arrives.”
For whatever reason, his 78-year-old ticker again began beating.
“I could not let him die,” said his teary-eyed spouse. “We have been together so long. I don’t want to be alone. Even when I get mad at him, he just starts singing and whistling and I forgive him.”
“She saved me,” said Mr. Scott. “I’d felt a pain in my chest for several days, but thought it would go away. I don’t remember much about that day, except waking up in the hospital. I’m so happy and so grateful to her for giving me a second life.”
What to do with a new lease on life? He plans on doing what he always does. Riding his bicycle around the town of Kindsbach, sweeping up the sidewalks around his local church … and whistling.
“He is famous around Kindsbach,” said Lieutenant Clarke. “So many people know him and always see him peddling his bike around town. He really is part of the community.”
This was especially precious to her because she has a relationship with him.
“Knowing the family really makes it more special,” she said. “I look at him now and just can’t believe he’s still alive. It’s just awesome.”
The lieutenant was recognized May 24 at the Landstuhl Rathaus, where she received multiple awards and was honored by German officials as well as members of her unit. Kindsbach Mayor Matthias Donauer presented the Clarkes with a city certificate of appreciation and a bouquet of flowers.