Share Your Story: Debra and Christopher Bader


Debra and Christopher Bader Massachusetts

Debra Bader was taking a walk in the woods with her 53-year-old husband Chris one morning when suddenly he collapsed. At first she thought the situation was hopeless. "I looked at him and said, 'He's dead,' because he wasn't moving or making any sounds at all," Bader remembers. "But I pulled the cell phone out of his pocket and called 911, and then a public service announcement I'd heard on the radio popped into my head." The one-minute PSA from the American Heart Association instructed listeners, in the event of cardiac arrest, to perform chest compressions very hard to the beat of the 1970s Bee Gees song "Stayin' Alive." "I sang the song and gave directions to the EMTs at the same time. It was like, 'Stayin' alive, stayin' alive -- take a right here, take a left here -- Stayin' alive, stayin' alive -- take this path down here -- Stayin' alive, stayin' alive,' " Bader remembers.For 15 minutes Bader, who had never taken a CPR class, pumped her husband's chest until the ambulance arrived and the EMTs delivered a shock to his heart with a defibrillator. Christopher Bader survived. Bader says she was surprised you can save someone in cardiac arrest without doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. "And the fact that you have to deliver the compressions that fast was news to me. It's certainly different than what I learned as a Girl Scout back in 1968," she says. Bader says doctors at the hospital where her husband was treated have an alternative song. "They told me they do CPR to 'Another One Bites the Dust,' which also has about 100 beats per minute," Bader says. "Doctors have kind of a dark sense of humor." So does Bader like the song "Stayin' Alive"? "I do now," she says.

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