Verona Walk neighbors save man’s life using AED and CPR

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez
Published: Updated:

The Greater Naples Fire Rescue District honored five neighbors with “You’re My Hero” awards for saving a man’s life.

“I woke up in the hospital, quite shocked,” said Rodney Johnsen. “Within two hours, I had a stint put in, and I was totally on the road to recovery. I just can’t be more thankful for all the people involved, every single one. Couldn’t have helped me more, or I wouldn’t be standing here.”

Last month, Johnsen was playing pickleball when he suddenly had a medical issue.

“I just got done playing a short round, and I sat down on the bench, and that’s the last I remember,” Johnsen said. “I had no feeling of being sick. I got nothing. I just collapsed.”

Rodney told WINK News he’s alive today because of his neighbors.

“We are so completely grateful to everybody. They, without thinking of themselves or anybody but Rod, just jumped into action,” said Diane Johnsen, Rodney’s wife. “They were unbelievably trained, knew exactly what they were doing, got him on a flat hard surface, immediately started CPR, and that is what kept him alive. Because of their quick action and the aed being administered, he had no heart damage, he’s totally fine now,” she said.

Diane McConnell was playing pickleball that day and noticed something was wrong.

“When we were all heading to the next court to play our next game, I noticed one of the gentlemen was sitting on the bench, not responding,” McConnell explained.

She said people around them didn’t think twice and worked together to save his life.

“In a very group effort, did CPR, shocked this man twice, and had him breathing by the time the sheriff arrived, and the ambulance,” McConnell added.

And if there’s one message Rodney has for everyone.

“That was just overwhelming shock,” he said. “Not shocked. I knew they were the type of people to do that, but a shock that it happened to me. I just can’t be more grateful.”

Health experts say using an AED along with performing CPR within the first few minutes of having a heart attack can increase a person’s chance of survival. So, when you are out on the court, at the gym, or doing physical activity, make sure you know where the AED is located.

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