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Man’s heart stopped in a Wausau gym, how strangers brought it back.

WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) — Tom King was doing a bicep curl when his heart stopped on October 8, strangers kept it beating.

Carla Tautges is a fitness instructor at Franck’s Gym, she’s a registered nurse and she’s been CPR certified for almost 25 years. “All of those years of mannequin practice and then real life happens,” she said.

Tom King was finishing a bicep curl when his heart stopped. “Somethings wrong with me, that’s the thought that went through my mind,” King said. There wasn’t pain, just that thought in his mind before his vision faded to black.

Tautges and another stranger at the gym jumped into action. They performed two-person CPR until Wausau paramedics arrived.

On Thursday, Tom King got to say thank you to the men and women who saved him.

Jacob DeClerc and Tyler Becker were the firefighter paramedics who responded to the call. “He looks absolutely fantastic,” said DeClerc. “Compared to how we initially found him.”

King said the paramedics shocked him three times to get his heart beating again. The shocks are similar to what you would get from an AED (automated external defibrillator). That’s why staff at frank’s gym are raising money to buy an AED of their own. 

The total cost will be about $1,800. They’re already on their way to reaching that goal with a $500 donation from the Wausau Firefighters Community Assistance Foundation. DeClarc presented the check to staff from the gym on Thursday.

With a pacemaker in his chest, Tom said he’ll be back at the gym soon. “And I’ll have a smile on my face when I go,” he said.

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Tom Lally

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