If it hadn’t been for Army 2nd Lt. Jason Ausman’s serendipitous and swift timing, Dick Talley might not be alive today. After suffering cardiac arrest right after doing a few laps in a go-cart at Autobahn Indoor Speedway in Jessup, Maryland, Talley became unconscious and unresponsive.
As it so happened, Ausman was just about to take a few spins in the go-cart as well and came out to the track just as Talley had become unconscious. Tally’s heart was stopped for 30 seconds before Ausman rushed over to give assistance.
Ausman, who spent eight years as a paramedic, paramedic instructor and flight medic with the Lee County EMS in Fort Myers, Fla., was able to perform life-saving CPR almost immediately after Talley fell to the ground.
Ausman later said, “They teach you that if a person is not conscious and not breathing normally to go ahead and start CPR.” Ausman also refused to let anyone else take over for him.
“I have seen lots of people do CPR,” Ausman went on to say. “I have also seen lots do poor CPR, and if there’s a chance for the victim to make it, you’ve got to keep up good perfusion.”
When the paramedics arrived, Ausman briefed them with what had happened and told them that he believed Talley was in cardiac arrest. Though the paramedics initially didn’t believe him, a cardiac monitor revealed that Talley suffered from ventricular fibrillation, which is a fatal form of cardiac arrest.
In fact, in most cases, a heart attack like that has a 2% survival rate. Due to the speed and effectiveness of Ausman’s CPR assistance, Talley was helped right away. And because the paramedics were 10 minutes away from the speedway, every moment was imperative for Talley’s survival.
After he recovered from the heart attack, Talley began trying to track down his speedway hero. After calling the Autobahn Indoor Speedway directly, he was finally able to track down his savior.
In a voicemail message to Ausman, Talley said, “The circumstances that allowed our paths to cross and your actions are as big as life itself. Just to say ‘thank you’ seems insignificant for what you did for me. Thank you for life itself!”
Without a doubt, it was the skill and fast thinking of Ausman who saved Talley’s life. Being prepared with life-saving skills like CPR can save the life of a loved one, or someone else’s loved one. Be prepared: learn CPR!