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30-Year-Old Lesson Helps Man Save Pregnant Co-Worker’s Life

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CBS4 SPECIAL
chase This story was featured on the CBS4 Special "American Red Cross: A Colorado Century"

DENVER (CBS) – Every year the American Red Cross trains thousands people to do CPR. It’s a lesson Denver-area resident Douglas Schillinger learned several decades ago.

“I was in the Navy back some 30 years ago and my wife had started volunteering at the Red Cross,” Schillinger said. “I was asked by her if I wanted to learn CPR.

“She taught me and I learned how and hadn’t the need to do it until this happened.”

What happened unfolded on a December afternoon in 2012. Schillinger was at work at his city office when he heard a call for help.

That’s when he found co-worker Heather Driscoll collapsed in her chair and not breathing.

Heather Driscoll and Douglas Schillinger (credit: CBS)

Heather Driscoll and Douglas Schillinger (credit: CBS)

“I’d been really sick that week so I finally decided to suck it up and go to work,” she said. “I’d had a bad coughing spell. The guy next to me heard the noise I made. There was nobody else in my row, I could have been there and nobody would have known.”

Schillinger instantly reacted to the calls for help.

“When I got over there she had collapsed on her chair and was not breathing,” he said. “I started CPR, because turning blue in the face is not a good idea. Over a period of several minutes we got her breathing again. I kept doing CPR until the medics arrived which was 15 or 20 minutes.”

Everyone who was in the office also took action, calling 911 and getting the building security alerted so the paramedics could get quick access to the office.

And when Schillinger instantly recalled that decades-old training, he saved more than one life.

“I was three months pregnant at the time,” Driscoll said, “which poor Doug didn’t even know because I hadn’t told many people. He kind of did a two-for-one shot.

Driscoll says she and the baby both wound up okay after the incident.

“I owe Doug a lot. I mean, if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here. Hannah wouldn’t be here. Every time I see Doug I just smile a little more.”

Schillinger said he’s not a hero.

“I would just say that I was reacting to the situation and I was glad to be in the right place at the right time to help Heather.”

Driscoll disagreed.

“You were the only person there who knew what to do and did it great in a heartbeat. You are definitely a hero.”

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