Gwinnett officer thanks first responders for saving his life after cardiac arrest

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Gwinnett County Police Officer Doug Loomis went into cardiac arrest May 3

Doug Loomis is used to responding to emergency calls on a daily basis. On May 3, the Gwinnett County police officer was the subject of one.

Soon after finishing a run, Loomis, 40, collapsed in his kitchen and went into cardiac arrest. His wife, Ashley, heard him fall and dialed 911 before rendering aid to her husband.

“Thank you to everybody that cared for me and stayed with my family,” Loomis said during a gathering Wednesday Gwinnett County Justice and Administration Center with the first responders who helped him that day. “Everything just happened to work out for me. I’m one of the lucky ones who was able to make it through.”

911 Operator Brandy Britton, who was among those who attended Wednesday, was able to guide Ashley Loomis, aided by her 13-year-old son, Jack Loomis, through CPR until EMS arrived.

“If I hadn’t personally trained and taken the (CPR) class myself, I wouldn’t have been able to give her suggestions on how to get him rolled over,” Britton said. “She is definitely the hero in this situation, she did all the hard work. All I did was give her instructions.”

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

“With her help, it was definitely a team effort,” Ashley Loomis said. She kept me calm and kept me going until EMS got there.”

Personnel from Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services Engines 27 and 24 were able to stabilize Doug Loomis before taking him to Northside Hospital Gwinnett.

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He remained unconscious and unresponsive until the following day. It took another day for him to be able to walk. He went home May 7.

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

His cardiologist, Dr. Salil Patel, credited first responders, dispatchers and Loomis’ family with saving his life.

“Every day cardiac arrests happen, and the survival rates are, unfortunately, very low,” Patel said.

There are around 350,000 cardiac arrests cases every year in the U.S., with about 70% happening in homes. Survival rates for cardiac arrests that occur outside of a hospital is less than 12 percent, with CPR being able to double or triple the chances of survival, according to the American Heart Association.

“Doug is so lucky that everything worked out with CPR his wife was able to provide, EMS being able to respond quickly and defibrillate him in the field into our hospital,” Patel said. “Everything happening quickly was the key to him surviving and returning back to (normal).”

Loomis returned to light duty on June 21 and full duty on August 1. Loomis hopes sharing his story will encourage people to get CPR trained and certified.

“CPR is important. You may not need to be trained in CPR but as long as you do something to keep the blood flowing, compress on their chest, you are going to give your loved one, your friend or even a person you may not know, you’ll give them a chance of recovery,” he said.

The American Red Cross offers CPR classes and other first aid training throughout Metro Atlanta. See redcross.org for details.