When Gabe Shallouf was with his mother and little sister driving through his hometown of Milwaukie, Ore., on Monday, he had no idea that he was on his way to saving someone's life.
The 19-year-old was in the car with his family when he noticed a lawn mower sitting on its own in the middle of someone’s lawn. He then saw a man passed out on the ground next to it. Shallouf quickly shouted for his mother to stop the car and rushed over to help. His CPR training kicked in, and once he reached the man he immediately began resuscitation techniques.
"I was just screaming at the guy to wake up," Shallouf told The Oregonian. "But he wasn't breathing, and I couldn't find a pulse. Luckily, I knew what to do." The man, 76-year-old Jim Alexander, underwent angioplasty 10 weeks ago, which may have contributed to his loss of consciousness, his wife, Diane, told KPTV. Alexander was alone at home when he passed out as his wife had taken the couple’s grandchildren shopping.
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Shallouf was able to perform CPR, which he was trained in while serving briefly as a Navy corpsman. Shallouf's mother called the police, and while Shallouf was performing CPR two other passers-by stopped to help. One tried talking to Alexander while another checked his pulse.
Shallouf didn't stop the CPR until paramedics arrived, even though he thought he lost him a couple times, he told the Oregonian. According to Shallouf, Alexander "turned purple and breathed what sounded like a last breath."
In a matter of minutes emergency vehicles were on the scene. Firefighters took over where Shallouf left off. Miraculously, Alexander gained consciousness and was alert and talking to the firefighters at the scene.
Shallouf knew Alexander was going to be fine "when he began complaining about the firefighters messing with him."
Firefighters told the Oregonianthat they credit Shallouf with saving Alexander’s life, but Shallouf insists it was a team effort. "Without their help," he said, "I couldn't have done what I did." ‘
He never believed he'd have a chance to use his training, but when the time came, he told the paper he "knew exactly what to do."
Alexander’s wife says her husband remains in the hospital where he is undergoing tests to determine what happened.
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