Campus Community

Saving a Life

Written by Mike Thee

May 21, 2015

Exterior view of the SU William Eisiminger Fitness Center

Fitness Center staff and patrons responded quickly-and successfully-to a life-threatening emergency.

Proper training, quick thinking and the necessary equipment combined to save a life at the Eisiminger Fitness Center recently. 

Russ Goedde, who received a doctorate from the College of Education ('92) and taught in the Institute of Public Service, was working out on the elliptical, and then on a lateral pull-down machine when he showed signs of distress and slumped over. Recognizing the seriousness of the situation, a fitness center student employee immediately took action and called Public Safety. 

Meanwhile two patrons who were nearby-an alumna and a student-helped Goedde. With assistance from fitness center staff, the alumna and student patrons administered two rounds of CPR and shocks with an automated external defibrillator (AED). In minutes, Public Safety was on the scene assisting; shortly thereafter, Seattle Fire Medics arrived and took over the CPR and AED, and Goedde was transported to the Cherry Hill Swedish Hospital Emergency Department. 

Thanks to their quick action, Goedde survived. 

The following week he returned to the Fitness Center to thank the staff and let them know that he was expected to make a full recovery. In a letter to those who helped, Goedde wrote, "You are my heroes! I am the guy who caused all the commotion last Tuesday morning in the weight room. I survived and want to extend my heart-felt (!) thanks to all who brought me back." 

Tim Marron, executive director of the Department of Public Safety, praised the fitness center staff and patrons. "The training, resolve of these staff, students and alumni, AED placement and SU coordination with Medic One gave this man the best chance at survival. Congratulations to the Fitness Center team for being lifesavers!" 

"This incident," Marron continues, "highlights how critical CPR training and AED placement is on campus. Had these persons not been trained and no AED been on site, the first shock might not have been delivered until six to seven minutes after the event." 

Jason Morin, the student who performed CPR, is a mechanical engineering junior and fire direction officer in the Washington Army National Guard. "I don't consider myself a hero, but I am glad I was in the right place at the right time to put my first aid training to good use." 

Samantha Godfrey, assistant director of University Recreation, was present during the life-saving effort. She echoes Marron, saying, "The biggest lesson I have taken away from this incident is the importance of emergency response protocol and collaboration across campus. We can all be certified and trained in First Aid/CPR/AED and practice emergency response scenarios, but you also need consistent protocol across campus while also implementing mock scenarios involving all parties, including Public Safety, EMS and others." 

Goedde says he has no family history of heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol and previously had never spent a night in a hospital. "I'm generally at Connolly five days a week, and have been for maybe 20-some years, mostly swimming." 

Since his surgery to implant six stents in two arteries, he's been rehabbing at Swedish gym. This week he returned to Connolly to work with a personal trainer. He's also scheduled to have lunch with the student, Morin. I think we can safely guess who's picking up the tab.