On a sunny March day, Khun Saowalak was relaxing, watching her husband play a lively game of tennis at the Cozy Tennis Courts in Dormai, in Bangkok's Prawet District.

The courts were buzzing with activity and Khun Saowalak was enjoying the matches. In another match on a nearby court, Khun Durongrit Chinsuwapla adjusted his stance as he prepared to return a shot from his opponent. But before the ball crossed the net, he fell face first onto the court!

“The device prompts made it easy to use the sternum pad, even though I'd never used a ZOLL AED before.”
— Khun Saowalak, rescuer

Training instincts resurface

A retired nurse, Khun Saowalak realized Khun Durongrit might need cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and quickly ran to his side. Khun Durongrit was unconscious, leading Khun Saowalak to suspect sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). She glanced around and spotted the sign for an automated external defibrillator (AED) mounted a short distance away. She ran for the AED and was back by his side within three minutes. When Khun Saowalak returned, the Cozy Tennis Court proprietor Khun Pattarin appeared; she had called emergency services and wanted to know how else she could help.

Khun Saowalak located the electrode pads in the ZOLL® AED 3® defibrillator and followed the instructions to attach them to Khun Durongrit. The AED device immediately analyzed his heart rhythm and determined he needed a shock. The rescuers stood back while the AED delivered the shock and when instructed, Khun Saowalak started CPR compressions. She followed the defibrillator's audio prompts to ensure that her compressions were pumping enough blood to Khun Durongrit’s heart.

"It’s been a long time since I was a nurse," says Khun Saowalak. "The device prompts made it easy to use the sternum pad, even though I’d never used a ZOLL AED before."

Following the first round of CPR compressions, the AED indicated that Khun Durongrit’s heart still wasn’t beating effectively and needed an additional shock. After the AED delivered the second shock, Khun Saowalak continued CPR compressions until emergency services arrived and took over the rescue, transporting Khun Durongrit to a nearby hospital. Doctors determined that he needed balloon angioplasty to open up a coronary artery. He remained in the hospital for two weeks and spent two months recovering at home.

Paying it forward

When asked what he recalls about the incident, Khun Durongrit remembers feeling chest pains prior to his collapse, waking up in the ambulance after 20 minutes of unconsciousness, and wondering why his annual physical hadn’t detected any cardiac issues. He now understands how difficult it can be to detect heart disease and how quickly and without warning SCA can occur to otherwise healthy individuals.

“Having an AED available made it possible for Khun Saowalak to save my life and I want to give the same chance to another individual.”
— Khun Durongrit, SCA victim

These days Khun Durongrit is more careful when physically exerting himself. He knows that Khun Saowalak’s heroic actions might have had a different outcome if Khun Pattarin hadn’t installed an AED at the Cozy Tennis Courts. He recently purchased and donated an AED to another community organization to help ensure public access to AEDs for others who suffer SCA events. “Having an AED available made it possible for Khun Saowalak to save my life and I want to give the same chance to another individual,” says Khun Durongrit.

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