Woman's quick thinking saves man's life after heart attack - KCTV5

Woman's quick thinking saves man's life after heart attack

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Denise Henning with her son and life-saving AED Denise Henning with her son and life-saving AED
LIBERTY, MO (KCTV) -

A quiet evening of little league baseball turned into several minutes of life and death intensity.

Denise Henning, of Liberty, helped save an umpire's life Friday after he collapsed after suffering an apparent heart attack at the Fountain Bluff Sports Complex.

"He was on his back and his eyes were rolling back in his head and then he stopped breathing and everything," Henning said.

For Henning, it was a scary situation with only seconds to take action.

"It was very intense. He just collapsed and fell on the ground. He looked like he was having a heart attack," she said.

Henning was prepared. She had an AED, or automated external defibrillator, in her car. Her 15-year-old son, who was there to watch her younger son's game, ran to the car and brought it to the stricken man's side.

"We shocked him once. He came out of it and started talking. It was like a miracle," Henning remembered.

Henning's husband died May 15, 2012, at the age of 47, after suffering a heart attack at his son's baseball game. There was no AED available, and her husband never regained consciousness.

Ever since, Henning has made it her mission to get AEDs to as many places where they may be needed as possible.

The Henning Family Foundation has donated about 100 of the free devices throughout the metro. 

"This is the first time we used one of the machines for a save," Henning said. "I'm just glad I had it."

So is the unnamed stranger who suffered the heart attack. He is alive because of Henning, and her mission to save lives. The umpire is out of intensive care. His wife said he is scheduled for surgery next week.

The city of Liberty said Monday that there are actually three AEDs onsite and are housed in buildings that are at the center of each set of fields. They also have a portable unit that is available when they have activities on the complex's soccer fields.

Communications manager Sara Cooke said a parks staff member, who is also a certified lifeguard and certified in CPR, was also scene when the umpire collapsed and quickly recognized the urgency of the situation. 

"When she could not find a pulse, she began administering CPR," Cooke said.

Another coach in the tournament, who is also a firefighter, was also able to assist. 

"During this period, Mrs. Henning appeared with her personal AED. As this AED was immediately available, the decision was made to use it rather than one located in the nearby building," Cooke said.

The Henning family is holding a golf fundraiser in honor of Tim Henning on May 29 at the Staley Farms Golf Club. The money raised will buy lifesaving AEDs for public places like ballparks. Click here to register.

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