Eden Prairie resident Peter Graff is grateful to the six people whose quick thinking and heroism saved his life.
Those six were recognized for their life-saving actions during Tuesday’s Eden Prairie City Council meeting.
“In my estimation, that’s where the focus ought to be [on those who saved his life]rather than on me because all I did was fall down,” Graff, a retired educator who taught junior high school in Hopkins, said Wednesday. “They were quite incredible.”
Graff suffered a “cardiac event” on March 8 while riding on a stationary bicycle at the Eden Prairie Community Center (EPCC), according to a police blog post.
“It’s called sudden cardiac arrest,” explained Graff of the medical emergency that nearly took his life. “The odds are very poor for surviving that, and that’s a testmanent to how quickly and clear-headedly the folks at the Eden Prairie Community Center and later the police acted.”
Upon witnessing Graff fall, Alisa Hoang, an off-duty EPCC fitness instructor, called for help. Fitness leads Marie Goergen and Jill Bickler rushed over to move the bikes blocking access to Graff. They also checked his vitals and called 911.
EPCC patron Matt Johnson noticed the commotion and retrieved a nearby AED (automated external defibrillator) along with Goergen. Recreation supervisor Doug Tucker and recreation specialist Nate Storey also arrived. As reported in the blog, Johnson, Tucker, and Storey performed CPR and administered shocks using the AED.
He received four shocks from the AED before police officers arrived. After their arrival, officers and firefighters administered an additional three shocks.
“They said I was speaking a bit in the ambulance but you could have fooled me,” Graff said. He doesn’t recall regaining consciousness until he was in the hospital.
Police Chief Matt Sackett on Tuesday praised the six for their life-saving efforts in helping Graff. According to the blog, the EPCC staff relied on their training and worked together calmly and intently. Upon seeing that Graff needed assistance, the blog added that Johnson took action, demonstrating selflessness and providing vital aid to the EPCC staff.
To say the least, Graff is thankful.
“I was pretty much dead,” he said. “No pulse, no heartbeat, no respiration. You’re on a very strict clock at that point. I was just so fortunate to be where I was because they had an AED device and they had the people there who were trained.”
Graff is doing well and has even received the “green light” from his doctor to drive again. A couple of weeks ago, he visited his granddaughters in Colorado, and he plans to go fly fishing in Wisconsin this week.
He showed up at Tuesday’s recognition to support those who had saved his life.
“In today’s world, when it seems like all we get is glum news, it’s really good to get some good news about human beings doing good things,” he said.
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