Local cardiac arrest survivor reunites with medics, police officer who saved her life

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SPEEDWAY, Ind. – A Speedway woman is crediting CPR and first responders for saving her life after she experienced cardiac arrest last month.

“It was a lot of people who had to do a very special thing and they all did their job at just the right time so I could come home to my family,” cardiac arrest survivor Debbie Dowell said.

Dowell was on her way home to Speedway after having dinner with her husband, Keith, in Plainfield when he noticed she was slumped over in the car.

“We’ve been married 35 years and I knew something was right when she wasn’t responding,” Keith Dowell said.

Keith immediately called 911 and before first responders could arrive, Plainfield Police Officer Javier Casas pulled up behind their SUV when he saw them pulled over off the side of the road.

“If it wasn’t for him, she would not be there,” Keith Dowell said.

Casas began CPR until more help could arrive.

“I’m happy I could affect someone’s life in this magnitude,” Casas said. “I could assure, if any link this chain wouldn’t have worked properly Mrs. Dowell would not be with us. So it’s hard to express how perfect everything was.”

The American Heart Association awarded Casas and the other first responders, dispatchers and nurses at IU Health who all helped with Dowell’s recovery with the Heartsaver Hero Award Thursday afternoon at Dowell’s Speedway home.

The award ceremony coincided with the beginning of CPR Awareness Week, which Debbie and Keith Dowell said has a whole new meaning after their recent scare.

“I think I have a totally different outlook on life and how CPR can save a person’s life,” Keith Dowell said.
“I think everybody should try and get CPR because you don’t know if somebody in your family is going to need it,” Debbie Dowell said.

To learn more about how to administer CPR you can click here.

The entire list of the American Heart Association’s Heartsaver Hero Award winners include;

  • Dispatcher Kambria Daily, PFT
  • Firefighter/Paramedic Donald Herrmann, PFT
  • Firefighter/EMT Daniel Woehlecke, PFT
  • Lieutenant/EMT Michael Bennett, PFT
  • Firefighter/Paramedic Todd Goodner, PFT
  • Firefighter/EMT Andrew Carman, PFT
  • Police Office Javier Casas, Plainfield Police Department
  • Nurses from IU Health West and IU Health Methodist

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