Patient Story - 62 Year Old Man Saved by Philips AED

News / Patient Story - 62 Year Old Man Saved by Philips AED

"I read about a young boy who died because a defibrillator was not nearby,” says sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) survivor Art Garofalo. “I thought, he didn’t make it and I did. Somebody was watching over me.

One of those watching over Art at his local gym that fateful day was personal trainer Pam Riddle. Notified that a member was in trouble, Pam found Art slouched over his equipment and unresponsive. She quickly laid him down and began CPR while others retrieved the club’s automated external defibrillator (AED). Simple step-by-step instructions guided the use of the AED and they shocked Art’s heart back to proper rhythm.

Staggering statistics

The American Heart Association (AHA) estimates that each year between 250,000 and 450,000 Americans experience SCA. Ninety-five percent of these people die within minutes.

Thanks to Ms. Riddle and a Philips HeartStart Defibrillator, Art Garofalo beat those odds.

“A miracle”

“My dad was in the right place at the right time,” says Laura Gargasz, speaking of her 62-year-old father’s brush with death. “He travels for business. On any given day, he might be in and out of hundreds of places. He’s only at the gym for 60 minutes. The fact that he was there when this happened, the one spot where they had the people and the equipment to bring him back to life, is amazing. It’s a miracle.

Her dad agrees. “I owe my life to Ms. Riddle and those who assisted her in shocking me back to life,” says Mr. Garofalo. 

Don’t leave it to chance

“My dad has always been the guy who pays it forward. He goes out of his way to do things for people and never asks for favors,” says Jon Garofalo about his dad. “The stars were aligned the day my dad experienced sudden cardiac arrest. But it's a shame that life or death from SCA comes down to luck - that people have to be in the right place at the right time to be saved. My dad got lucky. And now he's working to ensure that saving the lives of other SCA victims isn't a matter of chance, but rather a matter of being prepared.”

“No one should die from SCA,” says Mr. Garofalo. “We have the technology to prevent unnecessary death. The challenge is to get it to the folks who need it.”

Raising awareness

Using his persuasive business skills, Mr. Garofalo dedicates much of his time to raise awareness of SCA and to facilitate the placement of AEDs in places where people congregate. His efforts continue to be recognized and supported by the American Heart Association, Philips Healthcare and the American Red Cross. “I've done some good things in my life, but nothing as good as this,” says Mr. Garofalo. “I've been given the gift of life. I want to return the favor.”

Cited by: Philips Patient Stories