Lifeguard saves man with CPR training

Bob Dawn woke to the shock of the emergency crew’s defibrillator after he passed out at the end of one of his regular workout sessions at Heritage Hunt Country Club, in Gainesville.

“They used the electric shock treatment on me to awaken me,” Dawn, 74, said of the emergency he went through in March.

“I thought the thing that was banging on me was my heart. Then I realized they were doing the treatment and it hurt,” he said.

“They got me halfway awake and put me on a stretcher and took me to the hospital,” Dawn said.

At the hospital, when he came to his senses after surgery to install a pacemaker, Dawn learned that he had gone into cardiac arrest and passed out after a treadmill workout. A 17-year-old lifeguard at the country club had administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation that saved his life.

His daughter, Karen Dawn, told the story of her father’s ordeal.

“He was walking on the treadmill, which he does every day, and he felt dizzy. He was stopping just because it was time for his exercise to end and as he was stepping off he kept feeling like he was going to faint. And sure enough he went right on out,” said Karen Dawn, a Washington Post purchasing manager.

Dawn, his daughter and Andrew Charron, the lifeguard, said the swimming pool at the country club is adjacent to the workout room and separated by a wall which holds a door and a window.

A swimmer saw Dawn fall and alerted Charron while someone in the exercise room called 911.

Charron, like others who have found themselves in the position to save lives, said he simply reacted when the emergency arose.

“It was just kind of second nature. I didn’t stop to think about it. I just did it,” Charron of Chantilly said.

Charron said until he actually used it, he had been somewhat skeptical of training.

“You’re like, ‘How is this ever going to do anything?'” he said of the training he’s been through in three years as a lifeguard.

“The training just kicked in. I never thought I’d ever have to use it or anything like that,” he said.

Charron said he’s been changed by the experience.

“It kind of changed my life a little bit, just seeing what I can do can affect someone else’s life,” Charron said.

Karen Dawn said her father, who received a pacemaker after the March 16 cardiac arrest, is glad Charron was working that day.

“My dad’s gone over to see him a couple of times to give him a hug,” she said. “He’s so excited that this kid saved his life.”

Staff writer Keith Walker can be reached at (703) 878-8063.

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