Wife saves husband having heart attack using the beat of famous Bee Gees song

L-R: Kris and John Berg on their favorite bike trail near the Dinosaur Crossings, St. George, Utah | Photo courtesy of Kris Berg, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — John Berg and his wife, Kris, were on their normal bike route near the Dinosaur Crossings on April 16 when he began to experience heart attack symptoms.

File photo of bikers on the Halfway Washington Trail, St. George, Utah, April 17, 2020 | File photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

This bike route is a normal one for the Bergs. They bike 5 miles down the trail to a bench and then back. When the two reached the end of their usual ride, John Berg wanted to go farther, but his wife decided to ride back to their car and wait for him there.

About 15 to 20 minutes later, he called her and said he was having chest pains. He was about a mile away from his wife, who went back to him with his nitroglycerin. If a person has to take another nitroglycerin after five minutes, common wisdom says it’s time to call 911.

In this case, he fell back, gasping and struggling to breathe before the five minutes was up, and that is when Kris Berg started CPR and chest compressions, a skill she learned while working for the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch.

“I just started doing the compressions,” she said, adding that the natural – but incorrect – tendency of most people doing chest compressions is to start slowing down.

“It has to be 100 to 120 compressions per minute,” she said.

While some people use their phone to keep track, Berg said she kept her beats per minute on track through the song “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees.

“Some other places train their people to ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ (by Queen),” she said. “It’s that disco beat.”

Kris Berg spent 20 years as the marketing director for the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch, a company that makes the software for dispatch all over the world.

After repeating the chorus to “Stayin’ Alive” about five or six times, she gave her husband another nitroglycerin and continued. Thirty seconds later he began to regain some consciousness, and then the paramedics arrived.

“I was panicked,” she said. “I don’t think it’s easy for anybody, especially when it’s your loved one in front of you. … I was really panicked, but I was glad that he came back so quickly, because some people don’t.”

Berg estimated that the ambulance came in less then 10 minutes, with the first paramedic arriving on a mountain bike. Due to her job, she had the knowledge to perform CPR on her husband, and she said it was crucial.

“If you have that knowledge, all of the sudden you have a way to keep that chain of life going until you can get somebody there that can really take over,” Berg said.

St. George Police Officer Tiffany Atkin said a basic knowledge of CPR is really important for every citizen.

“You never know when you’re going to be faced with the possibility of needing to help somebody,” Atkin said. “You don’t know if it’s going to be a family member, a neighbor or just a stranger off the street that you may be able to have a huge effect on in saving a life.”

When paramedics arrived, John Berg was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center and survived the heart attack.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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