Highland Township man meets first responders who saved his life

Posted at 10:51 PM, Apr 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-10 22:51:56-04

HIGHLAND TWP., Mich. (WXYZ) — A Highland Township man is lucky to be alive and thanking those who came to save him before it was too late.

It was an intense and scary situation. Jerry Copeland was home with his wife when he suddenly collapsed. She knew he was in trouble. She bagen CPR and when first responders arrived, they applied an AED to try and get Jerry's pulse going again.

"I think my wife saved my life," Jerry said.

It was Jan. 30 at 9:30 p.m. Jerry and his wife were just having a regular night watching TV when suddenly Jerry began gasping.

"I looked over and he was gasping for breath and I knew something was seriously wrong with him so I yelled at him (and) got no response, so I called 911," said Jerry's wife Sheryl.

Sheryl has no CPR training, but followed the 911 operator's instructions and didn't stop.

"They told me how to grasp my hands, how far to push down and she counted with me and kept counting with me," she said.

Oakland county sheriffs deputies were the first to arrive on scene and found Jerry with no pulse.

"(We) took his shirt off, put the AED pads on him," said Deputy Charles Johnson with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office. "The AED came back with a reading that he needed to be shocked, so we gave him a shock."

It worked after 20 minutes. Jerry achieved a return of spontaneous circulation much to the relief of Sheryl.

"I really don’t like to be alone (or) be by myself, so it’s just... not having him there," Sheryl said. "He’s my best friend, not having your friend there it would have been horrible."

For Jerry and his wife of 35 years, it was a close call. In fact, doctors say most people who suffer a cardiac arrest like the one Jerry did have a three percent survival rate. Jerry says the first responders were incredible, but the real hero was his one true love, his companion, his wife for staying calm in the face of death and never giving up.

"I feel blessed that my wife maintained her composure and administered CPR for as long as she did to keep me alive," Jerry said.