LAKEWOOD, Ohio – A Lakewood family ushers in the new year with loads to be thankful for. Rapid action by the Lakewood Fire Department saved the life of Robert Sweeney, who suffered cardiac arrest at dinner two weeks ago. You also share this life saving loan with his wife, Jackie Sweeney.
Family means everything to the Sweeneys. They raised eight children and six grandchildren in the Lakewood house they have lived in for thirty years.
“I’m a very, very happy and thankful person,” said Robert Sweeney.
They’ve been holding each other so much closer in the past few days.
“There is not a moment in the day that I don’t understand how close I was to taking all of this away from me,” said Robert Sweeney.
Back on December 16, when he sat down for dinner, Robert suddenly went into cardiac arrest, stopped breathing, and fell from his seat to the floor. Jackie immediately rushed to help, started CPR, and called 911.
“There must have been a legion of angels in this kitchen because I wasn’t scared. I just did what I had to, ”said Jackie Sweeney.
Lakewood Fire Department Paramedics Nick Boatman and Brian DiMonico were on their way back from another run when they got the call and rushed to the Sweeneys home on Lake Avenue. It only took you three minutes to get there.
“Count seconds. I think four to six minutes after this point is irreversible damage, ”said Boatman.
A total of eight firefighters came to help: Boatman, DiMonico, Rob Dillon, Dean Jalovec, Paul Jeske, Kyle Kapetin, Adam Bartinelli and Dan Santry. Two policemen also answered.
They defibrillated Robert four times to get his pulse back and took him to Fairview Hospital for further treatment. The firefighters said he was in good shape compared to other cardiac arrest patients.
“When we left Fairview, he was actually sitting on something I’d never seen before,” said Boatman.
They said Jackie was thanked for starting CPR on Robert immediately, even without formal training.
“Early CPR is essential. And then it made our work easier, we took over and just went to work from there, ”said DiMonico.
“I’m one of those people who poked fun at my wife for 20 years for watching reality shows. I’m not going to watch her with her.” She learned CPR from the reality shows, ”said Robert Sweeney.
“Chicago Med, Chicago PD, the emergencies they have,” said Jackie Sweeney. “I’m sorry to say I learned on TV, but I’m happy to say I learned. At least I knew what to do. “
Robert spent six days in the hospital. The couple’s daughters, Maureen and Ruth, took turns taking Jackie to the hospital every day and even sat in the parking lot so they could assist her when she wanted a break.
He came home from the hospital last Tuesday in very good shape and at Christmas they went to the fire station to thank the firefighters who had made sure that he and his family could usher in the new year.
“I’m very happy for the family and it increases morale for us here. Something like that happens, we feel good that we’re doing a good job, ”said DiMonico.
“He’s sitting here and I’m so happy he’s sitting here,” said Jackie Sweeney.
“It’s a Christmas present from Santa Claus and his helpers, the people who serve in the Lakewood Fire Department. It saved my life,” said Robert Sweeney.
Jade Jarvis is a reporter for News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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