Thrive by IU Health

November 02, 2023

Physical Therapist responds to distressed patient with time sensitive CPR

Physical Therapist responds to distressed patient with time sensitive CPR

Long before he considered a career in healthcare, Jeremy Herrmann learned how to act quickly and save a life.

By TJ Banes, IU Health Senior Journalist,

Jeremy Herrmann was first certified in CPR at the age of 12. His mom, Brenda Herrmann, was a nurse and educator, and his father, Mike Herrmann, worked in nuclear medicine. Every couple of years his father would bring his staff to the Herrmann’s White County Indiana home where Brenda Herrmann instructed the team in CPR.

Jeremy Herrmann had the advantage of taking part in the certification in a room filled with medical professionals.

Later, when he went to UIndy to pursue physical therapy, CPR became a requirement for his profession. At IU Health, Herrmann works in outpatient physical therapy for the Rehabilitation Services North Keystone Clinic. Like all clinicians, he takes CPR refresher courses quarterly.

But he never thought he’d need to use the skills.

A male patient had been in Herrmann’s care for several weeks after the patient’s Rottweiler yanked him to his feet and injured his shoulder. Herrmann said the patient didn’t have a known heart condition, but on the day of his appointment, the patient was sitting in the waiting area and became unresponsive.

“My coworker called 911, and another coworker helped me get him to the floor so I could start CPR. A third co-worker went to get the AED (automated external defibrillator used to help re-establish the heart rhythm),” said Herrmann.

Coincidentally, the patient had noticed the AED’s located at the rehabilitation offices, just weeks earlier and had commented to Herrmann how important it is to have them accessible.

“Working on him was pretty unreal. I kept thinking to myself, ‘this is really happening,’ said Herrmann. “You have to follow your training and rely on others around you to assist.”

As Herrmann was performing compressions, another patient, who was a retired respiratory therapist came in for treatment and began assisting with respirations. Within minutes the patient was transported by ambulance to the hospital.

A month after the patient was released from the hospital, he returned to the rehabilitation offices to thank the staff and serve them lunch.

“I wanted to go into a profession where I would have a useful skillset and I could make a difference in people’s daily lives,” said Herrmann.

This particular incident went beyond what he had ever imagined. “This type of heart attack is typically hidden and you don’t know until it happens. He could have been home by himself, out walking his dog, anywhere, but he was here.”