CHICAGO — The family of a woman who launched a campaign to meet up with the good Samaritan who helped save her life has gotten their wish.
It was a reunion two weeks in the making after Jammey Kligis collapsed on Labor Day on Michigan Avenue near Chicago’s Art Institute. Dr. Chanannait Paisansathan is the good Samaritan who stepped in to perform CPR.
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“I don’t remember anything. I remember being at a Labor Day party, but I don’t even remember driving into the city that day,” Kligis said. “I don’t remember anything until a few days in the hospital.”
Paisansathan, chair of Anesthesiology at Advocate Aurora Masonic Medical Center, was leaving lunch when she came across a crowd.
“I noticed there was a lady on the ground and she was blue,” Paisansathan saved. “I asked the bystander, ‘Has anyone called 911?’ They said, ‘Yeah, but we’ve been waiting for almost 10 minutes.’ I said, ‘oh my God.'”
The doctor immediately sprung into action, knowing time was of the essence.
“I remember almost like the movies, I said ‘I’m a doctor’ and everybody just gave way for me,” Paisansathan said. “When I assessed her, I couldn’t feel her pulse.”
Paisansathan also asked if anyone knew CPR.
“I was thinking, ‘If I don’t have anybody, just come, I’m going to teach you at that moment,’ because I know the effectiveness after three minutes, actually two minutes will not be adequate anymore,” Paisansathan said.
Shortly after, the ambulance arrived. As Kligis recovered at a nearby hospital, her family began the search for the good Samaritan who helped save her life. Following a report on WGN-TV, a family member notified Paisansathan.
“I was almost in tears because it gave me so much joy that she survived,” Paisansathan said. “She’s resilient.”
Kligis now has a defibrillator to help prevent her heart from stopping again.
“I’ve been able to work with my doctors to piece a lot of it together,” she said. “I think there are parts I’m never going to remember but that’s probably for the best.”
The Kligis family says they will all learn CPR to give back.
“We all know that we wouldn’t know what to do,” Kligis said. “We would be like all of those bystanders who were just at a loss. You call 911 but then what else do you do?”
Added Paisansathan: “Effective CPR, which anyone can do, is a life-saving procedure.”
Click here to learn more about administering CPR and first aid from the American Heart Association.