A Spokane EMT went into cardiac arrest. His wife's CPR training - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

A Spokane EMT went into cardiac arrest. His wife's CPR training saved him

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

It was a life or death situation with little chance of making it. A Spokane area firefighter and medic went into cardiac arrest at his home on Mt. Spokane. Luckily someone close to him who he trained more than three decades ago was there.

"If she wasn't here I would have died," Rick Stone said.

It was a Saturday night and Carol Stone and her husband had just gotten home from dinner when he told her something was wrong. As he stood up, Rick suddenly collapsed. 

Immediately, Carol recognized her husband was in full cardiac arrest and began performing CPR on him for seven until paramedics arrived and rushed him to the hospital.

For most, that's where the story would end. Nearly 90 percent of those who go into cardiac arrest outside of a hospital don't survive. But Rick and Carol aren't like most people.

"He comes across as real stern and gruff, but down inside, he's a loveable guy." said Steve Cooks, Director of Operations for Deer Park Ambulance. 

For more than 30 years, Rick has been a medic in the Spokane area. He's also been a firefighter since he was just 14 years old.

"It kind of got a hold of me. I couldn't get away. I tried a couple of times but I always end up coming right back," Rick said.

Over the years, he's saved hundreds of lives and trained paramedics to save hundreds more. Little did he know that one day one of his students would someday save his life. That student: His wife.

"That's what saved him is the CPR... which she learned from him," Cooks said.

Carol has been a paramedic now for 27 years.

"To turn around and save the one person that trained you how to do it, I've never heard of a case like that," said Shaun Pitts, an EMT instructor at Inland Northwest Health Services.

Rick says he doesn't remember what happened that day.

"I do not remember the day at all. I don't even remember days before. The only thing I can remember is waking up on the 22nd of January strapped to a bed at Sacred Heart hospital."

For 14 days, doctors had Rick in a medically induced coma.

"You don't know why you're there, you don't know how you got there... but inside I knew I was close to death," Rick said.

Eventually Rick had triple bypass heart surgery.

"There's a lot of what ifs, I mean, what if he hadn't got back from the barn in time? What if he had gone to bed sooner? It all went the way it was supposed to, I guess," Carol said. "The outcome was great."

After nearly a month, Rick is finally back home where he belongs.

Rick says his firefighting days are over, but he wants to continue training the next generation of EMTs. His friends say they'll be glad to have him back.

If you're interested in CPR training, click here: https://courseregistration.inhs.org/

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