After three decades as a CPR instructor, Wallingford man saves a life using it

After three decades as a CPR instructor, Wallingford man saves a life using it


WALLINGFORD — Local chiropractor John Calatayud has been a CPR instructor for 30 years, but has never had to perform the procedure on someone.

That changed about two weeks ago, when an elderly man passed out in the lobby just outside his office.

“It was just like we practiced in class,” he said. “It just seemed natural.”

Calatayud was in his office in the Keystone Building, at 85 Barnes Road, when he was told that the man was on the floor in the lobby. Calatayud performed CPR for about 10 minutes until paramedics arrived and transported the man to the hospital. Just before he was placed in the ambulance, the man was breathing and had a heartbeat.

CPR, short for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, involves manually pumping blood through the heart by doing chest compressions.

The brain can go about five minutes without receiving blood before cell damage begins to occur.

“The brain needs oxygen,” Calatayud said. “If you don’t get oxygen to the brain, you start to get damage.”

If performed immediately, CPR can double or triple a person’s chance at survival, according to the American Heart Association. Just 45 percent of people who enter cardiac arrest outside of a hospital receive CPR.

“It’s not a hard thing to do,” Calatayud said. “Learning simple steps can save somebody’s life.”

When Calatayud, also a former volunteer firefighter, started CPR the man appeared conscious, but was not speaking or breathing. He began doing chest compressions after he could not find a pulse.

“The hardest part of doing the whole thing was ‘do I start it?’” Calatayud said, noting there are minor risks associated with the procedure, such as cracking a rib.

When paramedics arrived moments later, he was instructed to continue CPR while they began to prepare the man for transport to the hospital.

He performed CPR for about 10 minutes before he learned that the man was breathing on his own and had a heartbeat. Paramedics told Calatayud that he saved the man’s life.

“You never know when you’re going to need to do it,” he said. “Everybody should know it.” 203-317-2444 Twitter: @BryanLipiner

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