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Husband saves wife with chest compressions alone

Flagstaff, AZ (CNN)

FLAGSTAFF, Arizona (CNN) -- The Hardens were losing track of each other's conversations. It had been a long, exhausting day for both Scott, a sheriff's deputy, and Kathie, an elementary school teacher. The couple put their two young children to bed, turned on the Food Network for a few minutes, then called it a night.
"I've always teased her about her snoring -- and she doesn't, but I've always told her that she does -- and that night it was unbelievable. It was so loud," Scott said, recalling the night less than a year ago when his 33-year-old wife died on the floor of their bedroom for 18 minutes.

When Kathie stopped breathing, Scott's training kicked in; "I got her to the floor because I knew I'd have to do CPR pretty soon," Scott said. "She took one big breath and I thought that's enough time to get me to my house phone for 911."

Working to calm himself, Scott performed a new type of CPR on his wife. No pausing for mouth-to-mouth. Compressions only. The paramedics arrived and took over; Kathie received numerous shocks and multiple infusions of adrenaline before the paramedics finally restored her heartbeat and rushed her to Flagstaff Medical Center's emergency room.
Eighteen hours after her heart stopped, Kathie Harden was back from the dead.

"You never go to the doctor's office, and expect them to tell you, 'You were dead, and medical miracles happen, and you are now alive,' " Kathie said, still in awe over the events that almost took her life. In August, Kathie returned to her classroom. She's teaching the third grade.

"I can tell you that Scott's training was what saved his wife," Rescue One founder Mark Dewdney says. "If Kathie had simply laid there, waiting for the medics, she wouldn't be back teaching the third grade. Ordinary people bridge the gap between the cardiac event and the professional rescuers - if it wasn't for bystander CPR, a LOT more people would die."
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