Lynnwood man suffering heart attack saved by quick actions of first responders

Lynnwood resident Frank Pitts, second from left, was saved by Lynnwood Officer Matthew Kruse. left, after collapsing in his home during a heart attack. Also shown is his girlfriend Shelley Goodwin, third from left.  (Photo courtesy of Lynnwood Police Department)

What seemed like just another chore day for Lynnwood residents Frank Pitts and Shelley Goodwin quickly turned into one of the scariest days of their lives when Pitts collapsed inside their living room. Without the swift response from the Lynnwood Police Department and South County Fire, this story would not have such a happy ending.

“We went shopping for a new dryer,” Goodwin said, recalling the events that led up to Pitts’ collapse. “We got the dryer. We took it up the stairs, took the old one down … then I suggested that we do more chores and he fell over. We thought he was joking but he literally collapsed.”

What Goodwin didn’t yet realize was that Pitts had gone into cardiac arrest and was having a heart attack. Goodwin called 911 and hoped first responders would get there on time.

“It was terrifying,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, is he gone? What am I going to do without him?’”

Lynnwood Police Officer Matthew Kruse received the call and sprang into action. In a video released by the Lynnwood Police Department, Kruse is seen sprinting into the residence, quickly pulling on a pair of latex gloves and immediately beginning to do chest compressions on Pitts as he waits for South County Fire medics to arrive.

Frank Pitts, shown with girlfriend Shelley Goodwin, said he doesn’t remember anything from the hours leading up to the heart attack.

According to Pitts, his last memory of the day is at the dryer store, talking with Goodwin about which one they should purchase.

“I remember going to look at the dryer, and that’s it,” he said. “Apparently we went and picked it up, brought it home, took it upstairs … but I don’t remember any of it.”

Pitts was legally dead for a few minutes before Officer Kruse arrived and began administering chest compressions on him, a concept that both Goodwin and Pitts said it’s hard to really comprehend.

“I was mainly hoping I could get there safe and that I could get there quick enough,” Officer Kruse said. “I know with CPR, the faster you do it, the better likelihood of survival.”

Pitts said he will never be able to repay the men and women who rushed to his aid and saved his life.

“For all the paramedics that helped me, I can’t thank them enough,” Pitts said. “I get another chance thanks to these people.”

Goodwin said the whole ordeal has changed the way the couple looks at life. From now on, they aren’t going to put the things they want to do on the back burner; they don’t want to take their time together for granted any longer.

“Life’s too short,” Goodwin said. “You’ve got to do the things that you want to do while you can.”

— By Lauren Reichenbach

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