Baton Rouge teen reunites with paramedics who saved his life
BATON ROUGE - It was a Spring day in 2017 when paramedics David Rogers and William Coles Jr. got the call on their radios.
"It came in as a cardiac arrest for a 15-year-old, which is of course always a high-stress thing," Rogers said.
At the scene, Yusuf Atkins Sr. and his son had just finished mowing their grass.
"We were standing in the yard talking. And as I was walking off, he all of a sudden collapsed. I thought maybe he had tripped or fell over on something," Atkins said. "I went to check. He didn't have a pulse and wasn't breathing or anything."
Before the paramedics could get there, Atkins immediately started doing CPR himself.
"I knew I had to keep oxygen going to his brain, and I had to keep him breathing until they got there."
When Coles and Rogers finally pulled up, they knew time was crucial.
"You only have about four minutes with blood pumping before you start incurring brain and kidney damage," Rogers said.
Luckily, a combination of everyone's quick responses saved Yusuf Jr's life.
"Well first of all, thank you, because without them I literally wouldn't be standing right here talking," said Jr., who doesn't remember much from that day except waking up in the hospital.
Now, two years later, Yusuf and his dad are reunited with the two paramedics who saved his life.
"Everybody who was involved in it, including the paramedics, the firemen, they all were there on time. Like I said, I'm forever grateful to them," Atkins said.
"We've worked 25 years, and I've never met anyone afterward," Rogers said.
Coles and Rogers, however, say it was his dad's quick thinking and professional training that helped to save his son.
"Fortunately his father was doing correct CPR prior to our arrival, which in my perspective greatly increases the chance of survival for a cardiac arrest event."
Yusuf Jr. is now a senior at Catholic High School. He says he plans on attending LSU or Southeastern University to study electrical engineering.
If you're interested, BR EMS offers CPR certification classes take place the third Thursday of every month.
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