Wife saves husband who suffered heart attack on running trail

Wife performs CPR while waiting for emergency services

By Stephanie Serna - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - A local doctor said he’s happy to be alive after he had a heart attack last year. It was his wife who saved him by administering CPR until EMS arrived.

Richard Newman, MD, said it happened on a Sunday afternoon in October when he and his wife Julie Peterson-Newman, RN, MSN, were running on the trail near the Blue Star Complex.

"I just remember saying to her that I felt a little weak," Newman said. "My legs felt a little tired. No other symptoms at all. Next thing I knew, I woke up in the intensive care unit at the fine Baptist Hospital downtown."

Peterson-Newman said she was terrified.

"He said that he had to stop," Peterson-Newman said. "His knees were weak. He fell to the ground and he was gone. He wasn't breathing, and he had no pulse." 

That's when Peterson-Newman started to administer hands on CPR.

"I called 911 with the phone that was on my arm and handed it to a man and told him to tell 911 where we were," Peterson-Newman said. "Then, I told him to put the phone on speaker so I could talk to 911 while I was doing the compressions."

Peterson-Newman did break her husband's ribs in the process, but she saved his life.

"Thanks to her and the great EMS people that showed up and the doctor's that have since taken care of me," Newman said. "Thank God I'm here now to tell the story."

Peterson-Newman said by pumping her husband's heart, she was giving him time. She hopes to get the message out about the importance of knowing CPR, so more people will be prepared to step up and save their loved ones.

"Ninety percent of the time, you're not going to make it when you go into cardiac arrest when you're in your home or out on the trail like we were," Peterson-Newman said. "You're getting better odds if you're able to do CPR for your loved one."

Newman is back to running again, and he said he and his wife are getting ready for the New York City Marathon in November. 

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