NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio (WJW)– A local pharmacist is being hailed a hero after he saved the life of a shopper who stopped breathing inside his store.
“I gotta run to Drug Mart. I have to pick up some bread and the paper,” said 69-year-old Janet Coleman, of North Olmsted. It started out as an ordinary Tuesday afternoon for Coleman on May 18.
“I bent down to get a loaf of bread to check the expiration date and that’s all I remember.”
Coleman, who suffers from a heart arrhythmia, collapsed inside Discount Drug Mart in North Olmsted.
“I woke up and I was in the ambulance. I asked the paramedic, ‘What happened?’ He said, ‘You had no pulse and no heartbeat. Your pharmacist gave you CPR and you started breathing.’ I said, ‘Oh my god,'” Coleman said.
“You really don’t think, you just snap into action. Once I realized she wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse, compressions, compressions, compressions,” said Matt Kirby, a pharmacist with Discount Drug Mart.
Kirby said he ran out from behind the pharmacy and immediately started CPR.
“I was on compression 22 when she gasped and came back,” Kirby said.
Coleman started breathing again. Four minutes later, paramedics arrived.
“It’s surreal, I don’t even know how to explain it. And then I had to go back to work. That was the hardest part. I actually had to sit down for a while,” Kirby said.
Discount Drug Mart said pharmacists are trained in CPR and recertified every two years by the American Red Cross. It said more than 200 pharmacists are CPR trained in 75 stores across Ohio.
Coleman was released from the hospital four days later. Meantime, she and her husband Kevin are grateful for Kirby’s actions so they can celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Friday.
“You get a new perspective that people do care about you. You might not know their names. But they care,” Coleman said.