How One CNM Staff Member Saved a Life with Training He Received on Campus
The AED Ari used to help his family member.

How One CNM Staff Member Saved a Life with Training He Received on Campus

Ari Rosner-Salazar was able to bring a family member back from cardiac arrest earlier this month thanks in part to training he received at CNM
September 16, 2020

It all started sometime between 5-6 a.m. on Sept. 3. That morning, Ari Rosner-Salazar, the Director of the Global Education Office, was woken up by a relative in his house who shouted for help after a second relative fainted in the bathroom. Ari and his wife rushed downstairs only to find that the first relative was now on the floor, too.

Quickly, Ari realized that the first relative—the one who had shouted—was actually in more severe condition. He was gasping for breath and in real danger. Almost immediately, Ari understood that this relative had likely gone into cardiac arrest. Luckily Ari knew exactly what to do. 

First, he and his family called 911. Next, Ari ran to where he stored his automated external defibrillator (AED), tore it off the wall and set to work. He started doing chest compressions with help from the 911 operator and then the machine turned on and started to guide Ari through the rest of the process. It told him to continue CPR and gave him a metronome so he could continue with compressions at the right intervals. Next, a diagram showed Ari where to place the electrode pads and Ari administered the first shock. 

After the third or fourth 30-second round of CPR and one shock, the relative started coughing and breathing again. Minutes later, several ambulances showed up and EMTs rushed in to continue caring for the relative who’d been in cardiac arrest, as well as the relative who’d fainted.

Photo of Ari Rosner-Salazar

“It was all incredibly scary,” Ari says. “But I was really glad I was able to push through and help. I was also really proud to be part of CNM because that’s where I received the training.”

Ari says he’s been training in CPR since high school, but was first introduced to an AED about six years ago during a campus training called CPR and Coffee. Those trainings—which usually happen three or four times each term— are run by Michael Faulhaber, the Program Director for Clinical Education at CNM, and about 200 staff members, including Ari, have gone through the one-hour session (you can see a CNM-produced training video here). The training, which covers CPR and how to use an AED, was set up because every building on CNM has at least one AED, and because the machines and training greatly increase the chances of survival if someone goes into cardiac arrest.

“The national survival rate for cardiac arrest is somewhere around 10 percent, but with training and an AED the rate jumps to somewhere around 60 percent,” Michael says. 

This jump in survival rate is why CNM has invested heavily in the machines and in training.

“A strong bias of ‘it won’t happen to me’ is prevalent around cardiac arrest, but Ari’s story is a stark reminder that ‘not me’ is a myth,” Michael says. “I firmly believe the more people we make aware of the realities of cardiac arrest, the more people will want to participate in training.”

Ari says the emergency room doctor called him to ask how long his relative wasn’t breathing and told Ari that based on the circumstances, that relative would likely have died if Ari had not been trained and had access to an AED in his home.

“The doctor came right out and said I probably saved his life,” Ari says. 

Michael, who spent 15 years as a paramedic, says he never saw anyone with an AED in their house. Ari says the medics who raced in were also surprised to see an AED and glad that his family member was already breathing. That rarity, however, is not an excuse, Michael says. He hopes more people invest in the machine and take the training once staff and faculty can return to campus.

Ari says his relative is already back home and doing well. Ari is still processing the event, but ultimately thankful that he had the training and the equipment to help when it was needed most. 

“Back on September 3, both the training and AED were priceless to me,” he says.