Hero Cardiologist Saves Two Runners During a Half Marathon

Hero Cardiologist Saves Two Runners During a Half Marathon

March 19, 2024 by Cathy Stack

MONTEREY, Calif. —Dr. Steven Lome, a cardiologist and an avid runner, saved the lives of two fellow runners as he raced in the Monterey Bay 2022 Half Marathon.

Along the first section of the course, Steven saw a runner ahead of him collapse. Thanks to his medical training, he moved to assist the runner and immediately performed CPR. That runner, Gregory Gonzales, had entered cardiac arrest. Thanks to Steven and the paramedics who rushed him to the hospital, Gregory lived to tell the tale and to race another day.

After the ambulance left the scene, Steven felt a little frazzled, but he decided to complete the race. Two hours later, he crossed the finish line and raised his hands in the air to celebrate. At that moment, he heard a cry for help from another fallen runner. That runner, Michael Heilemann, had also entered cardiac arrest. Once again, Steven rushed to perform CPR.

Prior to that day, Steven had only performed CPR in a hospital setting as part of his regular duties.

Gregory Gonzales, 67, collapsed 30 feet in front of Steven three miles into the race.

“There was no pulse, and he wasn't breathing. And I thought, oh my gosh, a full cardiac arrest,” said Steven.

Steven immediately started lifesaving CPR while waiting for the paramedics to arrive. Gregory was then rushed in ambulance to a nearby hospital.

“I woke up an ambulance going, ‘Uh oh, something happened,’” Gregory recalled.

“It was a fatal arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation. The only way for that to go away is a shock,” said Steven. “And without a shock, you don't make it. But he woke up, we got him into the ambulance stable.”

Only two hours later, shortly after Steven completed the race, a second runner, Michael Heilemann, 56, also suffered cardiac distress.

“He (Michael) had no pulse. He wasn't breathing. We started chest compressions and CPR once again,” said Steven. Michael quickly regained consciousness, confused as to what had occurred.

Incredibly, both Gregory and Michael made a full recovery. When a cardiac arrest occurs outside of a hospital, the survival rate is estimated at around 5 percent. The two men beat the odds thanks to Steven’s intervention. Incredibly Steven happened to be in the right place at the right time – twice in one day.

Both men expressed deep gratitude to Steven for his hand in giving them a second chance at life.

The trio of men – Steven, Gregory and Michael – would gather again a year later at the 2023 Monterey Bay Half Marathon where they would triumphantly run side-by-side in a show of resilience and support.

“I believe something greater than me put me in that spot,” said Steven.

“Really miraculous and an incredible coincidence,” Gregory said. “Every day is a new day. A fun day. A challenge. But I'm here because of Dr. Lome, no doubt.”

Gregory and Michael both have family histories of heart attacks or heart disease.

“They both changed their diet, they're exercising, they're doing great,” Steven said.

The men hope that their inspiring story provides an opportunity to spread important information about heart health as well as the value of learning CPR.

“We hope to use this [story] to inspire other people to learn CPR, eat healthy, and to do the right things – because prevention of heart disease is way more powerful than trying to fight heart disease after it happens,” Steven advised.

The Foundation For a Better Life and PassItOn believe that Dr. Steven Lome is a hero. He action is the perfect example of having the courage to help others whenever possible. Please help us celebrate Steven by sharing his inspiring story.

Watch video here: https://youtu.be/gLkiEOKph9c?si=v8gI63Skj-3duOhp

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