School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

SOM student saves heart attack victim on the street

Andre Porchia

Andre Porchia

A Wayne State University School of Medicine medical student used lessons and equipment from one of his classes to save the life of a man who suffered a heart attack outside a Dearborn furniture store.

Andre Porchia, 25, a third-year medical student, and his friend, Bethany Rowe, a nurse at University of Michigan Hospital, had just parked outside the store on a recent Sunday when a frantic woman approached them. The woman said her husband was having a heart attack and she was seeking directions so that she could advise an emergency phone operator of her location.

Mr. Porchia and Ms. Rowe ran to the woman’s car and found the man, in his 50s, slumped in the car seat, unresponsive and with no pulse. The pair pulled the man from the car, laid him on the ground and began CPR.

“I had my breathing mask in the glove compartment of my car, so I ran and got it,” Mr. Porchia said. “Bethany performed chest compressions and I did the breathing for about 5 minutes until the ambulance arrived.”

Mr. Porchia said he had completed his required Advanced Cardiac Life Support class just two days earlier. The techniques he learned in the class prepared him for the emergency.

The wife of the victim, Mr. Porchia said, told them her husband had recently been treated and released for a heart attack.

Mr. Porchia, who has an interest in general medicine and emergency medicine, said he discovered from the victim’s family later that the man underwent emergency heart surgery and initially was not expected to live through that evening. He survived, however, and after eight days in the hospital, was released and is recuperating well.

The family tracked Mr. Porchia to thank him for his efforts through an advertisement placed on Craigslist.

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