Everything seemed fine to Julia Palma when her boyfriend Bob Schmit stepped off the elliptical at the Planet Fitness in Loudonville as he told her he would be right back, assuming he was going to the bathroom.
He suddenly drops to his knees and appears to be having a seizure, but he was going into cardiac arrest, something most 27 year olds can't say they've experienced.
Palma, 23, who is a registered nurse, said she knew to let the seizure happen, as his legs were flailing around. She then began to notice that something was wrong and that Schmit's color soon wasn't looking good.
I was checking for a pulse, and there was no pulse and he started to turn a shade of gray, she said. "His eyes were really dilated."
Understanding that this was not, in fact, a seizure, she quickly began CPR and the gym manager took out an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), while an off duty fireman helped do compressions as Palma was giving breaths. Finally, the AED sent a shock that zapped Schmit backed to consciousness and somewhat returning his color. Four minutes after the shock was administered, Colonie EMS busted through the door to take over the situation.
Schmit acknowledges the importance of getting the blood flowing before the EMT's arrived and realized that if Palma hadn't sprung into action then his probability of survival would have been significantly reduced.
"She's my savior," he said, "without a doubt."
When he was taken to the hospital where he was placed in a cooling blanket for 24 hours and then heated him for another 12 hours. He was put on a vent and a paralytic while this occurred, placing him in a medically induced coma.
Schmit said they would not have gone through such a process unless there was a good enough chance of it working. After they had finished, doctors tried reducing the amount of medication he was receiving to wake him out of the coma. Unfortunately, Schmit didn't seem like he was going to wake up.