AED helps save Caledonia man's life - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

AED helps save Caledonia man's life

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LA CROSSE, WI (WXOW)—Gundersen Lutheran Sports Medicine said over the past decade cases of sudden cardiac arrest have increased which is why its important to have an Automatic External Defibrillator in public places.

AED increases your chances of survival about 75-percent if used within the first three minutes of cardiac arrest.

Mike Werner has been rowing over thirty minutes, at Gundersen Lutheran Cardiac Rehabilitation, for him that's a personal record; just two months ago his heart wasn't in shape.

"I was going to a wrestling tournament in Tomah," Mike said. "I could tell I had a lot of shortness of breath."

He sat down and the woman taking tickets asked if he needed help.

"Next thing I knew I was on the ground and had gotten shocked," Mike said.

That day an AED helped save his life.

"They actually revived me nine times, brought me back," Mike said.

He's been working hard to get his heart back into shape but has had to learn to do it with out his vision.

"Starting to learn Braille but its like you're illiterate," Mike said. "You're starting from scratch."

Having an AED in public places is important because after the first three minutes, when a person goes into cardiac arrest, their rate of survival drops ten percent a minute.

"They are out there," Joe Lamere, Lead Athletic Trainer, Gundersen Lutheran said.  "For example our own mall here in town, there are actually three to four in the mall, but they become very decorative to walls because people see them same a fire extinguishers."

As far as his heart goes, Mike's doctor said the prognosis is good. But that's not his only challenge, before all of this he was diagnosed with cancer.

"What I see my job is making sure his heart is in as good shape as possible so it doesn't get in the way of his cancer treatment," Dr. Rajah Sundaram, Cardiology, Gundersen Lutheran said.

Having a heart attack, losing his vision and cancer, Mike isn't letting anything hold him back.

"It doesn't pay to sit and worry about things," Mike said. "I was in church a couple weeks after getting home and I just finally said God it's in your hands. It's just like a weight was lifted off my shoulders."

Mike said the big thing is you have to be grateful and he is for his family, friends and everyone who has helped him along the way.

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