A Chula Vista man, who had gone into full cardiac arrest as he slept, is lucky to be alive thanks to the quick thinking of his wife who began chest compressions when she recognized he wasn’t breathing.
Ralph Cerulli, 58, said the last thing he remembers last Oct 12 is boiling asparagus.
“I don’t remember a thing. I woke up in the hospital and said ‘Where am I? Why am I here? Did this really happen?'” he said.
But his wife Karyn has a much different story to tell. She remembers the moment she realized her husband wasn’t breathing. It was 4:45 a.m.
“He was gasping, but nothing was happening, he had fear in his eyes, and so I immediately, I knew he had a heart attack,” said Karyn.
Karyn screamed for the couple’s 23-year-old daughter to call 911. At the time, Karyn didn't not know CPR. But for the next 10 minutes, the two would take turns applying chest compressions with the help of a paramedic on the other end of the call.
“I learned at that moment, I was going to fight, I wasn’t going to run away from it, we knew that we had a job to do and we did it. Now did we break down? Yes, absolutely,” said Karyn.
By the time paramedics arrived, Ralph was unconscious and rushed to the hospital. He had gone into full cardiac arrest.
Now, doctors at Sharp Chula Vista are calling Ralph the “Miracle Man.” Typically, there are serious effects of cardiac arrest, including brain damage. In Ralph’s case, it was as if nothing happened.
But the incident has changed his perspective on life.
“I look at myself as a human being who’s gotten a second chance in life,” he said.
Both now implore others to learn CPR. And Ralph is crediting his wife, paramedics, and doctors for saving his life.
“I just can’t stress the importance of those first couple of minutes,” said Ralph, on the importance of learning CPR.