On Monday, Jan. 22, siblings Caleb and Madison Taylor were awarded the American Red Cross’ Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action at the Palm Beach & Martin Counties Chapter in recognition for saving the life of their father.
In the summer of 2018, Andrew Taylor, 42, had just returned from the gym with his wife, Heather, not feeling well. He thought maybe he had worked out too hard and was overheated, telling Heather, “it’s almost like my heart hurts.” She took his blood pressure and it was normal. “Should I call 911?” Heather asked. In a moment he would later regret, he told her no. Like many people, Andrew was unaware of the symptoms of a heart attack, and like most men, didn’t want to waste his day in the ER for something that he thought would likely pass. But within two minutes of Heather asking if she should call, Andrew collapsed face-first onto the floor of his bedroom.
Heather screamed for help and called 911. Madison, 16, ran in and found the strength and courage to help her mother roll her father onto his back, his face bloody from hitting the floor. As the dispatcher instructed Heather to start CPR, Caleb, 14, appeared.
“I didn’t even hear him enter the room,” explains Heather. “I call him my six-foot angel. I looked up and he looked down at me and said, ‘Mom, I got this,’ and instantly began CPR on his dad.”
Caleb proceeded to give his father bystander CPR, which is continual chest compression at a rate of 100-120 times per minute, while they waited for EMS to arrive. This is no easy task; it is physically draining. Added to this is the emotional distress of seeing a loved one hurt. Yet Caleb demonstrated himself to be the hero he is.
Once EMS arrived they took over and transported him to the local hospital. Andrew was rushed to the cardiac unit where they identified and opened a blocked coronary artery.
Thanks to his family’s quick action and an excellent medical team, Andrew walked out of the hospital 27 days later without any neurological deficits or heart damage. He was lucky that Caleb was enrolled in a medical program at his middle school that offered optional CPR training.
“I was very excited [to take the training]. It was another step closer to being in the medical field,” said Caleb. “I thought it was one of the coolest things to be able to do. I enjoyed learning it and I was always thinking in my head I would love to use this and save someone’s life...but this isn’t exactly what I had in mind!”
All the medical equipment and technology used to save Andrew’s life may not have mattered if it hadn’t been for the early CPR Caleb provided in the first crucial minutes following his dad’s sudden cardiac arrest. The Taylor family hopes to continue to share their story to inspire others and advocate for the value of CPR training.
At a moment’s notice, Red Cross training can give people the knowledge and skills to act in an emergency to save a life. To learn more and register for a First Aid/CPR/AED class in your area, visit redcross.org/take-a-class.
If you or someone you know has used skills and knowledge learned by the Red Cross to help save or sustain the life of another individual, visit LifesavingAwards.org to nominate or recognize them today!
Written by Judith Buckland