While attending church last year in Santa Clara, Calif., 53-year-old Kory Trebbin suffered a heart attack. As a fellow churchgoer spoke with a 911 dispatcher, a software program linked to the city’s emergency dispatch system searched a database of CPR-trained citizens, found one in the vicinity of the emergency and sent an alert to his smartphone. The nearby off-duty emergency room physician who responded was able to reach Trebbin and perform CPR until paramedics from the Santa Clara Fire Department arrived. Ultimately, Trebbin survived.
Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States, killing about 325,000 people each year. The American Heart Association estimates that if a CPR-trained person was able to provide immediate help, the chances of survival could double or even triple. But it can take several minutes for a fire department’s EMS team to reach a victim.