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CPR training can save lives

If you witness a medical emergency, would you know what to do? Trudy Messer put her CPR training to the test on April 4, 2019. The result is a life saved. She wants to spread the word about the importance of knowing how to react and what to do if someone is in need. 

Messer is a physical therapist with Bon Secours St. Francis Health System. She also travels to teach continuing education classes for other physical therapists. 

“Per normal, on Thursday I was leaving work to fly to Des Moines,” she said. “GSP to Atlanta – flight goes well. On the Atlanta flight to Des Moines, I’m sitting in 13C.”

Messer noticed a problem with a passenger two rows ahead. The young woman’s head was beating against her seat.

“I saw the woman beside her grab a magazine and start to wave it in front of her face,” Messer said.

Then the passenger collapsed into the center aisle. Messer, along with flight attendants, rushed to her aid. 

“We performed CPR and the other two flight attendants brought an AED and oxygen,” she said. 

One of the flight attendants asked via intercom if any passengers had medical training and could assist.

“Not a single person pushed their button or stood up to help,” Messer said. 

The story had a happy ending. The women had suffered a seizure – her first – but was quickly revived.

“She had a pulse and was breathing,” Messer said. 

The incident reinforced Messer’s desire to encourage others to get trained in CPR, either for the first time or as a refresher. She said the muscle memory from her training helped her react quickly. Hands-only CPR is easy to learn and can mean the difference between life and death. 

“With my training in CPR, I helped save a life,” she said. “You never know when you will use it. It was very scary that no one else was willing to volunteer or thought they could help. You don’t have to be a physical therapist or a nurse or a doctor to save a life. It’s nice to know you’ve got that in your back pocket. It could be a family member that you save.”

Find a CPR course through the American Heart Association at the American Red Cross at

For a quick overview of how to perform hands-only CPR, visit