A Wisconsin man has been hailed a hero after administering life-saving CPR to his wife. Luke Benrud walked into his kitchen to find his spouse Andrea lying motionless on the floor. After initially thinking she had fallen over, he quickly realized the severity of the situation and sprung into action.
“I checked her head and there wasn’t any blood, then I realized she didn’t have a heartbeat, or anything,” Bedrud told PEOPLE of the horrific incident. “I set Aiden down, he’s screaming, and I got on the phone with 911. I had them on speakerphone while I’m giving Andrea chest compressions with my 5-week-old screaming in the background and our dogs running around.”
But Luke knew he had to focus – if he didn’t do something now, he would lose his beloved wife forever. He doubled down on the chest compressions, determined to get her heart pumping once again. After what felt like an eternity, her face began to change color – blood started to rush through her veins. Despite the pandemonium that surrounded him, Luke kept going.
“I knew where you needed to do the compressions, and I remember that you have to do them harder than you would think you’d have to do them,” Benrud recalls. “You do them faster and harder than you would think, especially when it’s your wife, right? You don’t want to hurt her, but I knew you have to do them with enough pressure.”
Paramedics arrived and asked Luke if he could get the door and restrain his dogs, but he refused. He wasn’t going to leave his wife’s side until the first responders were next to him. The medics rushed into the house and began working on Andrea with a defibrillator.
“As I did CPR and talked to 911 with Aiden screaming, my adrenaline was going and I was in the moment not really processing what’s going on, just doing what I needed to do,” he says. “Once I’m standing there holding Aiden watching someone else give Andrea CPR and hook her up to the defibrillator, that’s when it hit me, the gravity of the situation.”
Andrea was rushed to the hospital, where she was placed in an induced coma for three days. The doctors weren’t sure if she was going to wake up – if she did, they feared she would be disabled with severe brain damage. “Those were a pretty hard three days with the little one at home,” Benrud says, “not knowing how she was going to come out of all this.”
Incredibly, Andrea recovered without any brain damage or lasting effects, largely because of the quick-thinking of her husband. Had her brain been left starved of oxygen for a prolonged period of time, itis likely that she would have suffered severe disability. Doctors later diagnosed Andrea with a previously unknown heart condition. Amazingly, this is treatable and she is unlikely to experience any complications in the future.
Reflecting on an awfully frightening experience, Luke said he is incredibly grateful that he attended those CPR classes, adding that you never really know when your skills might be called upon in a real life or death situation.
“It’s a really easy thing to do. I know it’s easy for people to think that they’re never going to need that skill, or something like that is never gonna happen to them, or their family is healthy, or whatever,” he said. “But we’re a perfect example of how it can literally happen to anybody.”
“If it wasn’t for me knowing CPR, knowing what to do, Andrea probably wouldn’t be here today,” he says. “I would probably be raising our son on my own. It was just a huge awakening for us on how quickly life can change.”
You can sign up for CPR classes here.