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Delta employees save colleague after heart attack

7:25 AM, Jul 22, 2013   |    comments
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Employees in the finance department at Delta Air Lines worked together to save the life of David Morrison when he suffered a heart attack in his cubicle.

ATLANTA -- David Morrison, 50, had to rely on his colleagues at Delta Air Lines to help him piece together what happened the day he suffered a heart attack.

"If I had been anywhere else, I don't think the outcome would have been the same," Morrison told 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie.

He was sitting at his desk in Delta's finance department on the morning on February 13, when he suddenly slumped over and fell to the ground.

"We heard the thump. It was loud dead weight hitting the floor," said co-worker Vicki Eddy.

Right away, everyone who worked around him found a way to help.

"I knew at that point it was him and something was really wrong," said co-worker Mike Simmons, who called 911.

Another co-worker, Stephanie Tally, found an aspirin to put under his tongue and tried to get a pulse.

"Then I think I said, 'Somebody needs to do CPR. Does anyone know CPR?' That's when Vic and Terry moved in, and I moved out," Tally said.

Co-worker Terry Weitzel relied on CPR training from decades ago.

RELATED: Learn Hands-Only CPR Technique

"He needed someone to be compressing his chest and breathing into his mouth," Weitzel said. "I don't even recall how long that occurred."

He was coached by co-worker Vic Jackson. 

"I know he's alive today because it was a group effort," Jackson said. "Everyone was doing something."

Co-worker Bella Bryant knew exactly where to find an automated external defibrillator or AED.

"I ran and got the machine. I've never run so fast in my entire life. I think I took two steps at at time," she said. "As soon as I opened it, the EMTs came in."

Emergency medics eventually took over and rushed Morrison to Atlanta Medical Center.

"I honestly thought that was the last moment I was going to see David, rolling out on that gurney," said co-worker Julie Marshall. "It is a true miracle that he is here with us today. And it's because of all these people that stepped up and did what they needed to do."

Their life-saving collaboration caught the attention of Delta executives, who were preparing to launch a new online CPR and AED training course.

A total of 7,000 employees worldwide have taken the course since the start of June.

"That's quite a spike, more than usual for a training course," said Rob Kight, Delta's Vice President of Global Human Resources and Labor Relations. "There's a lot of interest generated by David's story."

The company has also installed more AEDs, including on the third floor of the Atlanta General Offices, where Morrison and his colleagues have worked together for years.

"How do you feel about them now?" Leslie asked him.

"It's hard to put it into words without getting choked up," Morrison responded.

"Do they feel more like family?" she asked.

"Yes. I just don't know if I can invite them all over for dinner, he said with a laugh.

If you want to make sure your co-workers are prepared for a similar emergency, the American Red Cross will come out to do training on-site.

You can go to www.RedCross.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS for more information.

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