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911 dispatcher guides Plainfield wife through steps to save her husband's life

Last October, Annemarie and her husband, Tom, were exercising at their Plainfield home when Tom fell to the floor.

PLAINFIELD, Ind. — They are the very first, first responders. The unsung heroes don't normally meet the people they help. However, a 911 dispatcher and a Plainfield couple now have a forever bond.

"I have an emergency," Annemarie Giangregorio said. "My husband cannot breathe."

Last October, Annemarie and her husband, Tom, were exercising at their Plainfield home when Tom fell to the floor.

"He's barely breathing, ma'am," Annemarie said.

"Stay on the line with me," said dispatcher Judy Osborn-Turner.

"Oh my gosh, no I'm losing him," Annemarie said. "He's not breathing at all. I can't get a pulse."

Tom was in cardiac arrest. 

"I can't move him, ma'am. He's too heavy," Annemarie said.

The dispatcher walked Annemarie through CPR. 

"You get him on the floor, flat on his back," Osborn-Turner said.

The dispatcher was insistent.

"Continue getting him on his back, Annemarie," Osborn-Turner said. "Place the heel of your hand on the breastbone. It's in the center of the chest."

"1, 2, 3, 4. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. Oh he's breathing!" Annemarie shouted.

Judy stayed on the line with Annemarie until paramedics arrived. 

"Let me count with you," Judy said.

In December, the couple reunited with the people who saved Tom. 

"I went over to introduce myself, and she said, 'Are you the dispatcher?' and I said, 'Yeah, I'm the dispatcher,'" Osborn-Turner said.

"As soon as we saw each other, we just held each other and cried," Annemarie said. "She was there. Her voice was comforting. None of that would have gotten pulled off without each individual person."

Credit: Annemarie Giangregorio

The 12-year veteran isn't often in the public eye. 

"We're kind of the unsung heroes in the back," Osborn-Turner said.

This shined a light on the ones on the other end of the line.

"Everybody backs each other and supports each other, especially in incidents as traumatic as this. So, kudos to all the dispatchers," Osborn-Turner said.

The couple later found out Tom has a rare genetic heart disorder. Patients don't normally survive that after cardiac arrest. However, thanks to first responders, they're able to prolong his life, working with doctors at the Cleveland Clinic.

Hands-Only CPR - Do you know how it works?

If someone collapses, do you know how to do Hands-Only CPR? This method does not use mouth-to-mouth breaths.

350,000 people suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year. Only 12% of those survive. Chest compressions alone can triple the chance of survival.

You'll want to keep the right beat about 100-120 compressions a minute. That can be hard to do, so here are some songs to help:

  • For Star Wars fans: Darth Vader theme
  • For pop fans: "Can't Stop the Feeling" by Justin Timberlake
  • Oldie but goodie (and appropriate): "Stayin' Alive" by the BeeGees.

For more information on CPR classes, click here.

RELATED: Avon honors 9-year-old with hero award for 911 call

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