Man survives cardiac arrest thanks to bystander, paramedics, and CPR

It was an emotional reunion Friday as a cardiac arrest survivor got to say thank you to the people who saved his life.

His story illustrates yet again the importance of knowing how to perform CPR.

On April 22, Peter Kealoha suffered cardiac arrest while eating at a local restaurant. That’s the last thing he remembers.

“My wife had to tell me what happened and that’s about the most I can say,” he said.

Luckily for Kealoha, Sean Malinger and his family were having dinner at the same restaurant. Without missing a beat, Malinger stepped in and began CPR until Emergency Medical Services arrived.

“When Marie (Hathaway Yoshikawa, a paramedic) came in, I’m told she took charge and vigorously applied CPR. I know she’s strong, because I have the bruises on my chest to prove it,” Kealoha said, adding that “it’s a small price to pay for being alive.”

Keaoloha has since learned he had no pulse after going into cardiac arrest, and without help, there’s a good chance he wouldn’t be here today.

Instead, he had a chance to say thank you.

“I actually didn’t know for a couple weeks what the rest of the story was, and I did a lot of praying for him and his family and I’m very grateful he made it,” Malinger said.

“We do this everyday and I can’t express what gratitude and what an honor it is to be able to meet someone we saved,” Yoshikawa said.

Friday wasn’t even the first time Yoshikawa had a chance to meet Kealoha.

“When I was in the ER, she stopped by to see how I was doing and checked on my wife twice. My wife was touched by Marie’s care and concern,” Kealoha said.

Now, a forever grateful Kealoha has his sights set on the future. He is a special education teacher with the Department of Education, and plans to return to work soon.

“I look forward to returning to work when new school year starts again, but most of all, I can be with my wife, my family, and three beautiful granddaughters,” he said.

Keloha says now that he has his life back, he will live each day as a gift and try his best to pay it forward.

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