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Heart attack survivor meets with Palm Beach County first responders

Posted at 9:14 AM, May 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-31 09:14:53-04

Meeting patients and learning their outcomes is not often part of the job for firefighters and paramedics.

Station 42 in suburban Delray Beach located off Hagan Ranch Road is trying to change that.

On Tuesday, the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue crew met a 30-year-old woman who they rescued in April.

Jessica Cody was suffering from cardiac arrest and her mother, Gladys, called 911.


Both visited Station 42 to thank the crew for saving her life. Lt. Juan Saavedra said it’s rare to meet patients like Cody.

"I've brought people back before, but this is the first time in 11 years I've been able to walk into a room with a smiling face,” Saavedra said.

First responders started a new policy in 2015 that’s helping to save more lives. PBCFR Medical Director Dr. Kenneth Scheppke says the “chain of survival” has allowed for patients to regain a pulse 40 percent of the time, as compared to 6 percent in 2011.

Scheppke stressed the importance of learning to perform CPR. The sooner chest compressions begin, the more likely a patient is to survive, said Scheppke.

In Cody’s case, a dispatcher coached her friend through compressions. When fire rescue arrived, they revived her.