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Mercy Health team helps man come back from the "widowmaker"

Mercy Health team helps man come back from the "widowmaker" (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A local wife and mother said her husband was alive thanks to the kindness of strangers.

It's all because they chose to get involved and perform CPR when seconds really mattered. Imagine your husband leaving the house to meet up with friends and having an event, that but for some strangers, could have been life altering. That was exactly what happened to a family Local 12 met at Mercy Health in Anderson for an emotional interview that reminded everyone that maybe there really are angels among us.

What started out as a typical game of tennis ended with what was eventually a winning match for Cliff Peale, he just didn't know it at the time.

Cliff said, "I collapsed on the court. I woke up four or five days later in the hospital."

He woke up only to be told he survived what's called the "widowmaker," a blocked artery in the heart critical to survival.

Dr. David Babbitt, an interventional cardiologist at Mercy Health said, "It supplies a large amount of heart muscle and therefore the widowmaker."

But Cliff's wife, Pepper, was not a widow partly because of the amazing medical team and an amazing team of strangers. Mike Parlier and Keith Witherell didn't know each other. Mike is a firefighter, Keith a policeman, both just happened to be at the tennis club that day and immediately started CPR until the life squad arrived.

Keith said, "He was clearly in distress, he didn't have a pulse, he was not breathing."

Michael said, "We got there in less than five minutes."

Cliff, who has been a writer much of his life, said for the first time he has no words. His family said in times where most people don't get involved, the fact that they did left Cliff's parents with a son, her children with a father, a medical team with a patient, and a wife who was not a widow from the widowmaker.

Cliff said, "Those two men, Keith and Mike you talked to them, and I heard them say they were just doing their jobs. I have made the joke about it being called the widowmaker, those men saved me from that; strangers, it's amazing and really it is humbling."

It was not only a thank you for those who choose to get involved, but a reminder that everyone should learn CPR and not be afraid to use it.

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