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Serfas Employee Saves Coworker’s Life

Published August 14, 2008

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, CA (BRAIN)—Chris Armstrong owes his life to his coworkers at Serfas. When the inside sales rep at Serfas went into cardiac arrest on July 31, colleagues saved his life by performing CPR until paramedics arrived.

“It was scary and eye-opening,” said Serfas’ James Thomas, who handles PR and marketing for Serfas.

Thomas described Armstrong as an athletic guy in his early 30s who spent some time in the Coast Guard. “He was a regular, healthy cyclist just like the rest of us,” Thomas said.

Armstrong, who joined Serfas in June from a local golf shop, had only been with the company about six weeks when the incident occurred.

“We had a routine sales meeting. Chris gets out of the meeting and sits down at his cubicle. He starts breathing funny. Our sales office is pretty small, and someone heard him and started giving him a hard time—we all like to joke and keep it lighthearted around here. Then someone went around the corner and he was having what appeared to be an epileptic seizure,” Thomas said. “Since he’s fairly new to the company, we didn’t know any history of whether he’s diabetic or epileptic.”

An employee called 911. Product manager Mark Mollenkopf and another employee determined that Armstrong’s heart had stopped and immediately began to administer CPR.

Thomas said paramedics credited his coworkers with saving Armstrong’s life.

“Their quick reaction really saved his life. It seemed like it took forever for authorities to get here. It was three to five minutes, but it seemed like half an hour,” Thomas said. “If they hadn’t administered CPR, he probably wouldn’t be here and healthy.”

Armstrong now has a pacemaker to regulate his heartbeat, and thankfully is alive and well.

Thomas said the incident highlighted the importance of CPR training in the workplace. Serfas is planning to offer CPR training for all of its employees and Thomas encourages other companies to provide training.

“If it can save one more life it’s worth it,” Thomas said. “We all understand now the importance of CPR training—we saw it first hand.”

—Megan Tompkins

Topics associated with this article: People

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