Greenville doctor says her boyfriend saved her life with CPR

Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 5:44 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival after cardiac arrest, according to the American Heart Association. One Greenville doctor says she is still alive thanks to her boyfriend who knew CPR.

Zac Schmoyer says he still remembers it clear as day. He had just moved in with his girlfriend, Dr. Bijal Desai, who is now a Bon Secours internal medicine physician in Greenville. It was the fall of 2017 and they were both living in Arlington, VA at the time.

“She was right next to me and her eyes rolled back and she immediately stopped breathing,” Schmoyer said.

He immediately called 911 and then started CPR. Schmoyer says it had been a few years since he took a course so a dispatcher guided him to make sure he did it correctly.

“They had me remove her from the bed and get her onto the floor and start compressions,” Schmoyer said. “It’s amazing that not only did she survive, but that she is completely fine. It’s all thanks to CPR and emergency response.”

Doctors later diagnosed Dr. Desai with Long QT syndrome, which is a heart rhythm disorder that can cause fast, chaotic heartbeats. It can be triggered by certain medications

“I was feeling sick during the time it happened and I took some Sudafed,” Dr. Desai said. “When I was in the hospital my potassium was low, so they believe my low potassium levels is the reason it triggered my long QT.

Desai says luckily, her condition is manageable and has a simple message for others..

“CPR legitimately saved my life,” Desai said. “And not just CPR, but good CPR where you have deep compressions, and you do them fast and effectively. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for CPR and Zac. I urge everyone who can to please go get CPR certified.”

Dr. Desai says she believes she was born with Long QT syndrome, but never realized it because the symptoms are often asymptomatic. The Cleveland Clinic recommends an electrocardiogram to diagnose Long QT. This measures the electric pulses generated by the heart’s rhythm. It’s different from a heart ultrasound, which is called an echocardiogram. This uses sound waves to check the structure of the heart