When Stephen Giesbrecht stopped to help two women stranded on the highway change a flat tire, little did the Wisconsin man know that moments later, those two women would help save his life.
Giesbrecht and his wife Ann were driving along I-94 in western Wisconsin Saturday night when they noticed a car on the side of the road.
"Mr. Giesbrecht pulled over to see if he could help. He found two women, Sara Berg and Lisa Meier, with a flat tire. He helped them change it without expecting anything in return," said Sgt. Michael Newton of the Wisconsin State Patrol.
"He got about a mile or so ahead and told his wife that he needed help. She pulled over, dialed 911, and started waving her arms for help. At that point the vehicle they had just helped saw her and stopped," Newton said.
Berg immediately began CPR on Giesbrecht, who had stopped breathing and did not have a pulse.
Newton was first police officer to arrive on scene and began assisting with CPR. Shortly after, Dunn County Deputy Scott Pace arrived.
"When I got there, they got him out of his vehicle while I hooked up the AED, automatic external defibrillator," Pace said. "Eventually the AED delivered three shocks and we started to feel a pulse."
According to Newton, if the women had not stopped to help, it would have been another five to six minutes before CPR would have begun, which could have been the difference between life and death. Starting immediate chest compression can give the heart crucial circulation until an AED arrives.
Thanks to a 2003 fundraiser by the Rotary Club, each patrol car at the Dunn County Sheriff's Department is equipped with an AED. However, the Wisconsin State Patrol is not.
"This is a perfect case of why it would be nice to have an AED in all of the cars, if we could afford them," Newton said. "They run anywhere from $2,200 to $2,500 a piece."
According to the CDC, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds in the United States.
"AEDs should absolutely be universally carried by law enforcement because they are the first responders everywhere," said Dr. Thomas Tallman of the Cleveland Clinic Emergency Department.
Late Monday night Pace received a call from the family informing him that Giesbrecht had woken up and was beginning to talk.
"Timing is everything with a heart attack," Pace said. "The stars were aligned for this guy, everything was perfect."