Lifestyle & Human Interest

Man's Heart Stops for 45 Minutes But Stranger Refuses To Give Up on CPR, Then a Miracle


As the saying goes, nothing is certain in life except death and taxes. Tax preparer Lidia Chandler almost witnessed both in one day.

This past week, a man named Jacob Colunga visited Lidia Chandler’s home to get his taxes done. They’d never met before, and they might have parted ways and never seen each other again, except that during the process, Chandler’s husband, Jose Alvarado, went into cardiac arrest.

Chandler panicked, not knowing what to do. Thankfully, Jacob Colunga had learned CPR for his line of work and attended to Alvarado for 45 minutes.

Many people would have given up, but the good Samaritan powered on, and after 45 minutes without a pulse, Alvarado was able to be revived.

“I was scared I was thinking that this can’t be happening that’s when Jacob rushed in there and did what he did,” Chandler told WOAI-TV.

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Alvarado was taken to Methodist Hospital where he had three stents put into his heart. Doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

“The fact that he’s able to go from completely dead, no pulse at all for 45 minutes, to now being able to walk out of the hospital, it’s because of the CPR,” Dr. Jeffrey Dellavolpe, a critical care specialist, said.

“Bystander CPR is everything. We get called all the time for patients that have been found down for two or three or five minutes.”

“The longer they go their brain doesn’t get oxygen and without oxygen, they don’t get a chance to have a meaningful recovery,” the doctor added.

Colunga said that while he’d been trained in CPR, having to administer it in a live situation is completely different from practicing in a controlled environment.

“It was a life-changing experience,” he said, “because performing CPR on dummies versus a real-life person it is totally different.” But Colunga also has renewed confidence in his methods, since they’ve now been proven.

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“In the future, if I ever have to administer CPR again, I know that the method that I use and how I was trained is the correct way.”

The men had an emotional reunion on March 14 at the hospital, and while Colunga hasn’t gotten out of his taxes, he has made a new friend.

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