HUNTLEY, Ill. (WGN) — An Illinois man who works out five to six times a week is thankful after quick-thinking fellow gym patrons saved his life.
The day after Christmas, Brian Kuhn, 61, had a very close call when working out at an Anytime Fitness near his house.
“At 20 minutes on the bike, I felt my heart miss a beat,” Kuhn said. “I didn’t even make a full rotation with the pedals, that’s when you see me on the video totally collapsing.”
Tim Gagnon was on a treadmill nearby and rushed over to help.
“There was somebody walking by I asked to come help me flip him over. We flipped him over. I could see he wasn’t breathing,” Gagnon said.
A woman in the gym called 911 while Gagnon started CPR and continued compressions for three minutes until paramedics arrived. Another man grabbed a defibrillator and helped out as well.
“If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be able to do our jobs, which is the biggest step in the chain of survival,” said Huntley Fire Protection Lt. Gitzkie. “Somebody else starting CPR early and early access to 911.”
Kuhn was rushed to the hospital, where he found out he’d had sudden cardiac arrest after a heart arrhythmia. At the hospital, Kuhn was told what else they discovered.
“‘We found over 90% blockage in three of your arteries,’ then they ended up repairing four the next day through open-heart surgery,” Kuhn said.
Just three weeks later, he was back in the gym. In February, Kuhn was honored with a special ceremony at the Huntley Fire Protection District. He got to thank the people who came to his aide, including Gagnon.
“It was hard holding back tears,” Kuhn said. “It was extremely emotional to meet the guy that saved my life.”
Gagnon was glad he did not forget the CPR training.
“It’s pretty incredible, it really is,” he said. “I never thought I’d had to use it, but knowing I did and this was the outcome — well worth everything.”