Duke professor saved by CPR emphasizes need for life-saving skill

Kevin Labagnara and Ritika Patil helped save the life of George Grody by administering CPR.

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – A Duke professor recalled how CPR-trained students were able to save his life as Duke Medical Center hosted a training blitz Wednesday of the life-saving skill.

Professor George Grody said students thought he was bored or falling asleep during a September student organization meeting.

“I slumped over. And being a little sarcastic the students said, ‘Well, this is how Grody is showing us that he’s bored with the meeting. He’s acting like he’s falling asleep,’” said Grody.

But after Grody stopped moving and started losing color, students quickly realized it wasn’t a joke.

“Some students came out of the classroom yelling ‘Does anybody know CPR?’ So, we immediately ran over to them,” said Kevin Labagnara, a Duke pre-med student.

Labagnara and fellow student Ritika Patil are also Duke EMTs. They knew exactly how to respond to Grody’s cardiac arrest.

“They rushed in, they were in their EMS gear, and started performing CPR,” said Grody.

Patil said they did chest compressions until other emergency responders arrived.

Grody was taken to the hospital. After a quintuple bypass, a defibrillator implant and several weeks in recovery, he’s in good health and preaching the importance of CPR.

“Being able to work with folks and help them develop the skill so they can save people is really important. Because most times the people they save are going to be one of their friends or loved ones,” said Grody.

No matter who you could save, Labagnara and Patil said having the skills to help is life-changing.

“Great experience. Honestly, wanting to be a doctor, this has kind of reinforced it for me,” said Labagnara.

“Incredibly rewarding to be able to use your skills and like actually help people,” said Patil.

The American Heart Association said performing CPR on a person in cardiac arrest can double or triple their chances of survival. If you’d like to learn CPR, click here.

More than 300 people were taught CPR as part of the blitz Wednesday.

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