Woman, daughters jump into action to save man's life at gym

A Wake Forest woman and her daughters exercised a life-saving move at a local gym.
February 28, 2014 4:52:18 AM PST
A Wake Forest woman and her daughters exercised a life-saving move at a local gym. They helped perform CPR on a man whose heart stopped while he was exercising on the treadmill.

The women only ended up at the gym on a whim. They had a girls' day planned and had to run a few errands, but then decided to squeeze in a workout. Apparently, it was intuition.

"Today, I have an opportunity, a second chance, to move on with my life and make a difference. I am very lucky to be alive," said Carlos Ruiz, who was saved by the women.

Ruiz has tremendous gratitude and thanks to the women who came to his rescue at a critical time.

Merrie Gough and her daughters went inside Anytime Fitness just as Ruiz collapsed, and fell off the treadmill. He landed on his head.

"For all practical purposes, my heart had stopped and I was dead," said Ruiz.

"It was something I would have never even fathomed would have happened," said Danielle Gough, who is a dental student.

The family jumped in to help. Merrie quickly ran to Ruiz's side. One of her daughters rushed over to help her while the other ran to a phone to call 911.

Fortunately for Ruiz, Merrie is a registered nurse and both of her daughters are studying medicine in school.

"He was unresponsive, wasn't breathing and had no pulse," said Merrie. "We opened the airway and started basic life support for him."

CPR was performed and, within a few minutes, paramedics arrived. Ruiz was taken to WakeMed.

"If she hadn't of started to work on me immediately, I probably wouldn't have made it," said Ruiz.

Not only was he is lucky about that, but, when his heart failed, there was nobody else inside the cardio area of the gym because it happened early on a Sunday morning.

"I give thanks to my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, for putting this family in that position to be able to save me," said Ruiz. "Because if not, I really shouldn't and wouldn't have been here today."

Now, all Ruiz can do is send a thousand thanks to the three angels who saved him.

Ruiz is doing well now. He's taking some time off work to recuperate and has even started working out again, but at his doctor's orders to get his strength back.

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