Family’s quick thinking gives man enough time for hospital to restart his heart

Reporter: Taylor Smith Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
(Left to right) Dr. Price Sonkarley and Jack Sammon. Credit: Shared with WINK News.

The quick thinking of a family in Southwest Florida gave an emergency room the precious minutes it needed to save a man’s life. Two men share a lifelong bond after one of them needed a lifesaver, and the other one was in the right place at the right time with his family.

A trip to Naples for Lori and Jack Sammon did not start out the way they planned.

“Jack was gone, and it was, for me, a very surreal experience,” Lori Sammon said.

“I felt fine, and I wanted to do one last thing to check in the front door to see if there was anything in the front door that I missed,” Jack said. “That’s the last thing I remember until I woke up in an ER.”

They had just arrived at their rental home. They were unpacking the car, and then, minutes later, Jack went into cardiac arrest.

“My heart just simply stopped, and I was a goner,” Jack said.

But luckily, Dr. Price Sonkarly’s wife, Robyn, was in the front yard playing with their daughter.

“All of a sudden I heard Robyn be like, ‘Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Come quick,’” Sonkarley said. “I saw Jack across the street, and he was collapsed like on his car. I knew something was like totally wrong by the way he was collapsed.”

Sonkarley noticed Jack had no heartbeat, so he started giving him CPR.

“The doctors and nurses at the hospital were calling me a miracle patient because I had so little chance of surviving,” Jack said.

If it weren’t for the quick thinking of the neighbors across the street, Jack might not be alive.

“They told us, in cases like this, they have just four minutes to restart the heart,” Jack said. “Every little piece had to fit. Like if Robyn doesn’t see me, there is no story.”

The Sammons are forever grateful.

“Every single morning, I thank God for giving me another day and thanking the Sonkarleys, and the paramedics and the staff at NCH,” Jack.

“These neighbors are our family now,” Lori said.

“Together, we saved his life basically,” Sonkarley said. “It was pretty amazing.”

Jack was discharged from the hospital after a five-day stay. He missed a good first week of his vacation, but says he is enjoying it more than ever now and is doing well.

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