BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – The efforts of a handful of workers at a Giant Eagle store in Boardman, Ohio are being praised for saving a little girl’s life.
There were hugs and tears all around Friday inside the grocery store after the child returned with her family to thank the employees for their quick action.
Five-year-old Alex Lucas was shopping with her mom, Lori, two weeks ago when the little girl collapsed in the restroom of the store.
“As soon as I saw that she wasn’t breathing, I yelled out for help, and before I knew it, there were 20 people in the bathroom helping, giving her compressions,” said Lori Lucas.
Alex was suffering from a rare and undiagnosed heart condition known as CPVT. It’s a condition where the organ suddenly stops.
Immediately, Grocery Manager Chris Spencer grabbed the store’s automated external defibrillator (AED) device and ran back to the restroom to administer a life-saving shock. On Friday, the Lucas’ returned to say, “thank you.”
“It literally went from the worst moment to after they used that AED, to one of the best moments of your life whenever you hear her cry,” said Aaron Lucas, Alex’s father.
As a corporate policy, all Giant Eagle managers and pharmacists are trained in CPR and how to use the AED.
“It was scary. I think God put us in the right place at the right time,” Lori Lucas said.
The episode left the workers unable to sleep that night until they knew the little girl was OK.
“We were just so concerned. This is great to see her like this right now. It’s really great,” said Giant Eagle employee Chris Spencer.
“Just when we walked in was something I don’t think I’ll ever forget, so seeing her smile is all we needed,” said Giant Eagle employee Christine Kennedy.
Alex now wears a permanent defibrillator on her chest. She is thankful for all who helped her at the store and also her cardiologist, Dr. John Clark from Akron Children’s Hospital, who is now taking care of her.
Dr. Clark said those employees at Giant Eagle are “miracle workers.”
“I don’t think they appreciate the degree to which they were truly saving her life. If she goes down and someone calls 911, and they wait for EMS to get there, the likelihood of Alex walking out of a hospital is less than 5%,” he said.
Dr. Clark believes more businesses should get AEDs like the ones at Giant Eagle and workers should be trained to operate them.