Heart Attack During Business Travel: Heroes Among Us

Traveling for work can be stressful. Being in an unfamiliar city with no immediate support personnel like family or friends can add to that stress. Having a cardiac episode on top of all that stress can potentially be deadly. That is the story of a co-worker of my wife.

A 60+ year old Sales professional was on business travel when he started feeling ‘off’ while at the hotel. Arm/shoulder pain, feeling nauseated and feeling like he wanted to pass out, he went to the hotel lobby to get help.

Three (3) hotel staffers (all trained in CPR/AED) noticLobby-Businessmaned signs of a heart attack and immediately sprang into action. One staffer called 911. One prepped the hotel’s AED and provided aspirin. The 3rd staffer attended to him and kept him calm. It was no time before an ambulance arrived. He was transported to the hospital, treated and made a full recovery. A happy ending for certain, but how frightening does that sound? Having to deal with a serious health incident while being miles from home without your normal support network around you is hard to imagine.

When I think of this type of event, I NEVER associate it with being somewhere other than near home where help seems to be conveniently at hand. Some statistics indicate that Monday mornings are one of the more likely times an episode would occur. While that may be supported by statistics, variation exists in almost all statistical data.

This story ended well. But what if the hotel staffers were not educated and didn’t take the right actions?  What if emergency care was not contacted immediately? My wife’s friend got a 2nd chance thanks to trained personnel who took action. While you may not realize it, your life could depend on medically trained experts beyond the typical police/fire/paramedics. CPR/AED/First Aid trained experts that may be in the grocery store, at work, walking down the street, at the gym or in your hotel. Someone such as this could save your life.

Do yourself and others a favor: Educate yourself.

  • There are classes that can be taken to help teach you how to treat someone in need.
  • Symptoms can be researched so you can identify when such an event is occurring to you or someone else.
  • Learn lifestyle changes that can reduce your chances of having such an event.

“Knowledge is power” is cliché but it may save your life or help save someone else’s. Taking a course as mentioned above could put another potential hero out in public. How good would it feel to say that you helped save a life? How grateful would the survivor or their friends/family be? I’m sure you know of a similar story. Maybe it didn’t have a happy ending. Maybe one trained person could have changed the outcome. Give some thought to being someone who is trained to make a difference.



Steve Rakowski