Spontaneous CPR saves resident’s life


Pilar Valdes, Assistant Pulse Editor

Most people have a daily routine: where they run, what route they take home from work, who they talk to on the drive home. On Dec. 1, a simple change in routines helped save a life. Registered nurse Mallory Glover, AT&T employee Noah Arroyo and Technology Center of DuPage (TCD) student Chris Psenicka ‘18 helped save Sonia Perez-Morales’s life by performing CPR after she had a life threatening heart attack just north of NC.

Perez-Morales, who had just run the Chicago Marathon, got out of work an hour early that day and decided to go on a short run. As she approached NC, she decided to call her son Travis Morales ‘19.

“The last thing I remember is calling Travis to find out what time he was getting out of school,” Perez-Morales said. “About 40 seconds into the conversation, I remember mentioning to him that I didn’t feel right.”

Despite having no previous medical history of heart problems and being in good physical shape,  Perez-Morales suffered a spontaneous coronary artery dissection, which led to cardiac arrest and ventricular fibrillation, Morales said.

All in their separate cars, Psenicka, Glover and Arroyo noticed Perez-Morales on the ground and came to her aid and performed CPR.

“She had no pulse and I began performing chest compressions,” Glover said. “While doing chest compressions, an EMT student [Psenicka] arrived with a rescue mask kit and started rescue breaths.”

Psenicka, who is training to be an emergency medical technician at TCD, was driving home from school and came to Perez-Morales’ aid, Psenicka said.

Arroyo, who is trained in CPR through his work, was driving to a client’s home and stopped to help Perez-Morales, Arroyo said.

“I just happened to be working in that area that day,” Arroyo said. “It was pure chance.”

Glover, who had also gotten out of work early that day took a different route home than normal, she said. She ended up on Brainard Avenue and was able to come to Perez-Morales’s aid.

“I think God had impeccable timing that day,” Glover said. “It seemed like everyone was in the right place at the right time.”

The three of them performed CPR for a few minutes before the paramedics arrived and took over. After the paramedics arrived, Perez-Morales was rushed to the Adventist LaGrange Memorial Hospital where she stayed for a week, Morales said. Now in good condition, the event has changed Perez-Morales’ life.

“Emotionally, it changes everything. I’m thinking, ‘I’m doing everything right, eating and exercising’,” Perez-Morales said. “A heart attack was the last thing on my mind. It changes my whole view of life. Life is so precious and can be taken away in a moment.”

With the help of her husband, Perez-Morales reached out to Arroyo, Glover and Psenicka to thank them for their life-saving actions, she said.

“I am so glad she is doing well and living her full life,” Arroyo said.

Along with changing Perez-Morales’s perspective on life, the event has opened the eyes of all those involved.

“It made me value and appreciate my life more. It made me appreciate life in general and realize how much one life actually touches and affects so many others,” Arroyo said. “It was truly my honor to contribute and help save this life.”

All those involved also stressed the importance of CPR and its relevance to our daily lives.

“Some of the stuff you learn in school really can make a difference in your or someone else life,” Psenicka said.

Perez-Morales, herself, has now become an advocate for CPR training, she said.

“Don’t be afraid to take it and apply it to your life,” Perez-Morales said.

The same sentiments have been echoed by Glover, who knows CPR because of her job as a nurse.

“Unfortunate circumstances like this happen every day and we need to look to help others when needed,” Glover said. “CPR is a skill that anyone can learn. You may save a life by doing so.”

Coincidence and a change in routine helped save a life that day, but the larger impact was a newfound appreciation for life and all that it has to offer, Morales said.

“Don’t postpone things that you really want to do,” Perez-Morales said. “There may not be the opportunity for tomorrow or next year.”