CPR instructor in New York stops class to restart woman’s heart next door

TONAWANDA, N.Y. — A CPR instructor teaching a class in upstate New York became involved in a real-life episode when she helped revive a woman whose heart had stopped in an apartment building next door.

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Karen Mayfield was conducting a training course on Thursday in the western New York town of Tonawanda, a class that included New York assemblyman William Conrad, WIVB-TV reported.

In the middle of Mayfield’s class, a man entered the room and said his neighbor was unresponsive and needed CPR, according to the television station.

“A man ran in pleading for help for his friend, who lives nearby and was in (a) medical crisis,” Conrad wrote in a Facebook post. “I have to give special praise to our instructor Karen Mayfield, who rushed to the woman’s home to perform CPR while we called 911.”

“It was wild, and it just, to me, is just a great example of why we take these classes,” Conrad told WIVB. “Here’s the instructor, who in her own words said, ‘I’ve never done this on an actual person before,’ and we were in the training and just these simulations and so on are so real. It prepared her and she did a fantastic job and saved that woman’s life. She’s alive today.”

Matthew DeRose, the paramedic supervisor for the Town of Tonawanda Police Department, told the television station that awareness about CPR and the desire to take classes has spiked since Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during an NFL game between Buffalo and the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2.

“Having the knowledge and the skills helps to save lives,” DeRose told WIVB.

Mayfield told the television station that the incident was an unnerving but valuable experience.

“I hope this story can serve as yet another reminder of how invaluable a familiarity with CPR can be, and that it inspires others to pursue the training,” Mayfield wrote in a statement to the television station. “I commend the efficiency and expertise of the town paramedics and police, who every day on the job endure the stress of critical events and emergencies.”

Conrad called the experience “an evening none of us will soon forget.”

“(It was) yet another testament to the importance of learning this life-saving skill,” Conrad wrote on Facebook.

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