Jose Luis Villegas The Sacramento Bee
On a sunny Friday afternoon in October, West Sacramento Fire Department secretary Lindsay Dyer laced up her sneakers and headed out for a routine jog on her lunch hour.
It turned into “the run of my life,” Dyer said, when her heart suddenly stopped, and she was saved by five bystanders.
“As I lay on the ground dying, pulseless, strangers saw me alone and in distress,” Dyer said. “In my greatest moment of need, they came to my rescue.”
The five bystanders, including two nurses and an off-duty cop, were honored Monday during a Fire Department ceremony for their quick thinking and CPR that saved Dyer’s life.
When she set out for a run that autumn day, Dyer didn’t know she’d been living with a potentially lethal condition for decades. A congenital heart problem from childhood had never been diagnosed.
Instead, it nearly killed her as she ran down Stonegate Drive toward Lake Washington Boulevard. When Dyer collapsed, Yesabel Perza, a Sutter Health nurse, was getting lunch with her husband at the Nugget Market across the street and saw Dyer on the ground.
“I had to go and see because it looked like she was having a seizure,” Perza said.
Others who came to Dyer’s aid were UC Davis nurse Devyn Hotho, off-duty Davis police Sgt. Dan Powell, corrections officer Jeremy Fristoe and resident Jenilee Larsen. Each received a commendation for outstanding effort Monday.
Dyer said that without their intervention, the seconds that her heart stopped could have been minutes, leaving her with permanent damage to her brain and other organs.
Also honored Monday for their roles in saving Dyer’s life were West Sacramento firefighter Sayer Morgan, from Dyer’s fire station, paramedic Blythe Clark and EMT Ben Klein.
“(An ambulance) and West Sac fire soon arrived on scene and together we fought as I put my life in their hands,” Dyer said at the ceremony. “Time passed, and we rallied through multiple rounds of CPR and three shocks on the AED (defibrillator).”
Dyer was rushed to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where West Sacramento firefighters and staff kept her company until her family arrived. Department Chief John Heilmann’s face was one of the first Dyer saw, assuring her that she was safe. Firefighters continued to drop in to see her throughout her recovery, and city staff helped cover her hours, she said.