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Muskegon heart attack victim reunites with 2 strangers who saved his life

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Posted at 4:13 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 16:13:21-05

MUSKEGON, Mich. — A heart attack patient at Mercy Health reunited with the two strangers who saved his life.

The hospital says Armen Kassouni experienced a “widow maker” while mountain biking at Mosquito Creek on Oct. 30, 2021.

“My friends and I had just finished a 25-mile trail ride and were in the parking lot,” Kassouni recalls. “Apparently, I fell on the ground and vomited, but I have no memory of it. Thankfully, [my friends] rolled me over and cleared my passageway.”

As luck would have it, Mark Tourcotte and Steve Schrader, two healthcare professionals, were nearby when Kassouni suffered a heart attack, Mercy Health explains.

“I started CPR immediately,” says Tourcotte. That’s when he says Schrader stepped in to assist with chest compressions until help arrived. “They shocked Kassouni into a sinus rhythm immediately,” he says.

“I have seen this scenario play out many times,” says Schrader. “Time is critical and as we provided continuous chest compressions, we were also able to get the patient ready for the AED (automated external defibrillator) by getting his shirt off.”

The quick actions of Kassouni’s friends and the two strangers who rushed in likely saved his life.

“They placed a stent in one of my arteries, which was 95 percent blocked,” says Kassouni. “Thanks to the quick actions of everyone involved, my heart bounced back amazingly well to the point that it was difficult to tell I even had a heart attack.”

Mercy Health says Tourcotte and Schrader both received Heartsaver Hero awards from the American Heart Association (AHA).

Tourcotte encourages everyone to learn CPR in case of situations like this one.

“Don’t hesitate. Get trained immediately. It’s not hard,” says Tourcotte. “Your actions could save someone’s life.”

Kassouni also has advice to share. “[The doctor] indicated that one of the reasons I survived is that I exercise,” he explains. “I would send everyone a message that you need to exercise.”

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