The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 8, 2012

Enid doctor performs CPR, saves man at Tampa airport

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

— Enid gastroenterologist Sanku Rao can’t get away from taking care of people, even when he goes to Tampa, Fla.

Last week, Rao found himself giving CPR for 15 minutes to a man who had flown into Tampa on the same flight as Rao and his wife.

Rao said when the plane landed at the Tampa airport, another couple, apparently believing their carry-on bag had been picked up by someone else, ran after the passenger they believed was carrying their bag away from the plane.

“She was running and her husband was running about two feet behind,” Rao said.

About a minute later, Rao saw a lot of people surrounding the man on the floor in the terminal. One woman was attempting to put an automated external defibrillator on the fallen man and another woman was giving him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Rao began administering CPR. Their efforts seemed to be doing no good — not even when they fired the defibrillator.

“We shocked three times, but it did not show anything,” Rao said.

Still, Rao kept up the CPR.

“The people in their airport, nobody relieved me,” Rao said.

The man was not breathing and completely blue, he said.

Finally, emergency medical technicians arrived and took over. Rao said the man was taken to an emergency room, then a cardiac catheterization laboratory.Cardiologists placed a stent in a blood vessel to save his life, which Rao learned when the man phoned him a few days later.

How well the man came through the ordeal — making a full recovery — is astonishing to Rao considering the long amount of time his heart was not beating and he was not breathing on his own.

“The thing was, it was a miracle,” Rao said. “I’ve been a doctor 42 years now. I’ve never seen anybody live this long and survive with no damage.”