Hospital volunteer teaches hands-only CPR after technique saved his life

Daniel Suess, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital volunteer, demonstrates hands-only CPR for Sidewalk CPR Day. Lorena Mejia/The Signal

Santa Clarita residents gathered in front of the main entrance at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Thursday to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, a potentially life-saving technique.

The demonstration was one of many in the Santa Clarita Valley as part of Sidewalk CPR Day, which is part of National CPR Week.

Registered nurses and volunteers stood outside the hospital, including Daniel Suess, who owes his life to CPR.

“Two years ago, I was on vacation with my wife in Maui , and on the second day, we went snorkeling at the beach,” said Suess. “When I came out, I told my wife I had a stomach ache.”

Suess and his wife packed their belongings and began walking to their car when he suddenly collapsed.

“There happened to be an EMT and nurse at the beach and they started doing CPR,” added Suess. “They did crack my rib and I had internal bleeding. I was in the ICU for six weeks.”

Four and a half weeks later, Suess woke up and didn’t know what happened because he lost short-term memory for two days before Hawaii and that day.

“When they got my blood levels up, they were able to fly me and my wife home,” said Suess. “When I got back, I went to cardiac rehab here at Henry Mayo (Newhall Hospital), and I’ve been great ever since.”

Within less than five minutes, residents were able to learn the steps needed to keep a potential victim, like Suess, alive until paramedics arrive.

Hands-only CPR focuses on the first few minutes following a cardiac arrest, since the lungs and blood contain only enough oxygen to keep vital organs healthy for that amount of time, according to Los Angeles County Fire officials.

“If nobody would have done anything and just stood around and watched, I would’ve been dead within minutes,” said Suess. “Even if you don’t know CPR, if you just know enough to just push on the chest, you can help get the oxygen flowing.”

For those that missed the Sidewalk CPR event can attend a variety of CPR classes held at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.

Information about the classes is available at HenryMayo.com.

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About the author

Lorena Mejia

Lorena Mejia

Lorena was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. She attended California State University Northridge where she double majored in Journalism and Chicano Studies and minored in Spanish Language Journalism. While at CSUN, she worked for the university's television and radio newscast. Through her journalistic work, she earned membership to Kappa Tau Alpha, a national honor society for selected journalists. Her passion for the community has introduced her to new people, ideas, and issues that have helped shape the person she is today. Lorena’s skills include using cameras as a tool to empower people by informing them and creating change in their communities. Some of her hobbies include reading the news, exploring the outdoors, and being an avid animal lover.