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A 911 dispatcher helped a California woman save her husband's life


When 70-year-old Steve Cline's heart stopped...

STEVE CLINE: The love of my life saved my life.

MARTINEZ: Steve's wife Annette didn't have medical training. She called 911 for help. But before an ambulance arrived, she was still able to administer a lifesaving technique thanks to this.


CHRIS COOK: We're going to do this pace over and over until the help takes over unless he wakes up and tells you to stop, OK?

ANNETTE CLINE: One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four.

COOK: Good. Keep that rate up, and keep counting out loud.


That's the voice of San Diego fire dispatcher Chris Cook coaching Annette in what's called hands-only CPR. The American Heart Association says it's just as effective as traditional CPR, but much easier for people like Annette to use.

A CLINE: I thank God for the support that I had on that night. That night - it was the beginning of a series of so many miracles.

MARTINEZ: Nine months later, Annette and Steve got the chance to reunite with the responders from the San Diego Fire Department who helped them that night, the fire captain and members of the ambulance crew and fire dispatcher Chris Cook.

COOK: It felt like I was embracing a family member.

MARTINEZ: Really skilled family members who were called on to resuscitate him five times in just 43 minutes.

FADEL: Steve is now fully recovered, although Chris says none of the professionals would have been able to use their lifesaving techniques without Steve's wife being there first.

COOK: I got to talk to her for the first time. I'm like, I'm not the hero. The firefighters are not the hero. I said, you're the ultimate hero.

FADEL: And Annette - she expressed her gratitude to all the first responders with a gift of homemade chocolate chip cookies.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.