When Michael Wong attended his monthly Buddhism meeting in San Francisco, he never expected to end the evening by saving his friend’s life.
Despite 15 years of training students and instructors in lifesaving CPR and AED (Automated External Defibrillation) skills, Michael never needed to test his own knowledge in a real emergency.
Then, as his 85-year-old friend, Fan Tsang, collapsed on stage shortly after starting a speech on October 20, Michael knew he had to take action.
“I went up to take a look and realized that he was gasping for breath and immediately knew it was a heart problem,” said Michael, who is the Asian Community Preparedness Manager for the Bay Area Chapter.
“The thing that went through my mind was the standard procedure of the 3 C’s—Check, Call, Care.”
After directing another person to call 911, Michael started the Care action—chest compressions.
“I kept telling myself that my movements had to be correct,” Michael said. “There were so many CPR failures from movies and TV shows going through my mind and I did not want it to happen to me.”
Michael was able to take action and provide immediate help, knowing that without it, a person whose heart has stopped may not survive long enough for emergency services to arrive. Michael said he credits his Red Cross training over the years for helping him to assist Fan. After six minutes of compressions, the paramedics arrived and rushed Fan to the hospital. Fan spent a week in ICU and underwent heart surgery but after 11 days in hospital, he awoke.
Now, feeling fully recovered, Fan is very grateful his friend from the Red Cross was in the audience that evening.
“I remember I was asked to go and give a speech, I was standing in front of a crowd holding the microphone–that’s it,” Fan said.
Doctors at San Francisco General confirmed the CPR performed before the paramedics arrived had saved Fan’s life.
Sign up for a CPR class at redcross.org/takeaclass.