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Off-Duty Nurse Saves Heart Attack Victim On The Street

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Jim Southard and Deb Rewerts (credit: CBS)

Jim Southard and Deb Rewerts (credit: CBS)

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – An emergency room nurse saved a man’s life, not in the hospital, but on the street.

It happened just one block from Swedish Medical Center Thursday morning. The patient and nurse Deb Rewerts met for the first time since the life-changing moment on Friday.

It was an accident that had Rewerts near the medical center at that time. Scheduling mistakes do happen from time to time, but when Rewerts turned around to go home she stopped first to get gas for her car only see a commotion in the street. She then jumped in to save Jim Southard, who was having a heart attack.

“I mean I’d be dead, so what can you say?” Jim Southard said.

A vaccination visit for his dog ended with him driving his wife and grandson onto Logan Street.

“He just said, ‘Oh no, oh no,’ so he knew there was something going on,” Jim Southard’s wife Michele Southard said.

He hit the brake and his wife put the car in park.

“I have the baby in the car, don’t want to leave the baby in the car, want to make sure he’s safe, so I’m screaming, I’m beeping the horn,” Michele Southard said.

Strangers pulled him out of the car.

“I was just so scared he was going to die,” Michele Southard said.

But then Rewerts, who thought she was supposed to be working at Swedish nearby came along.

“I messed up with my schedule, I wasn’t scheduled and I was on my way home,” Rewerts said.

She gave Jim Southard CPR on the street, knowing the odds were not in their favor.

“I was worried, definitely worried,” Rewerts said. “Because the survival rate out in the field is like a 10 percent survival rate.”

“I think we live in a very sad and angry world and for people to come out from nowhere, I’m going to cry, that was amazing,” Jim Southard said.

Hours later Rewerts learned he had survived.

“It was just like, ‘wow,’ this is so wonderful, and I looked up and thanked the Lord,” she said.

Jim Southard is facing triple heart bypass surgery.

The Southards used to live in Englewood but moved to Aurora and kept the same veterinarian in Englewood.

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