"What she did then made all the difference," said Pam Dodson, a pre-hospital care coordinator for Contra Costa County Health Services. "She looked to see what was going on and noticed a woman who appeared to be non-breathing and unconscious."
Having just completed her CPR certification a few weeks before, Broski sprang into action, doing chest compressions as she had been taught on the non-responsive woman. She continued to do the compressions until Emergency Medical Technicians arrived at the scene and took over. The EMTs used a defibrillator and shocked Beth Scroggs' heart back into a normal rhythm.
Dodson said the woman suffered sudden cardiac arrest, when the heart suddenly stops working. "Sudden cardiac arrest kills more people than lung cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined," she said.
She added, "Taking action like Sara did is what saves lives. Lots of kids know CPR through school, lifeguarding or camp counseling, but it's not uncommon for people to just stand around. What we need is for people to step up."
Broski was honored at a recent unveiling of the HeartSafe Community Initiative, a program set up to encourage more cities to become better able to deal with cardiac emergencies.
John Broski said that he only learned of his daughter's heroic act after it was over. "When I got to the BART station to pick her up there were lots of fire and police vehicles. When I finally got there she stumbled out and just kind of collapsed in the car," he said.
He said that Sara was shaken up by the experience and was worried that Scroggs had not survived. "The instructor told her that he had done CPR six times and they all died so she went in there thinking the chances were not great."
They checked around and were able to learn that Scroggs had indeed survived and then were surprised when Sara was invited to the HeartSafe startup to be honored.
"I was very proud of her," Broski stated. "What she did a lot of people couldn't have done."