ALEXANDRIA, Minn.Keith Ramsay, a CenturyLink technician in the Alexandria area, was recently recognized by Take Heart, a Minnesota sudden cardiac arrest survival initiative, for his heroic efforts in reviving Julia Werk earlier this year.

“I’d say she went a good five to six minutes without a heartbeat,” Julia’s husband Norman said after hearing a ‘thump’ and finding her unresponsive on the floor. Keith and another first responder arrived to the scene as quickly as they could.

On the way to the Douglas County Hospital, Julia developed ventricular fibrillation and was shocked with an automated external defibrillator (AED). She was airlifted to the St. Cloud Hospital and was admitted to the coronary care unit (CCU). The process of therapeutic hypothermia was started and Julia’s body was cooled for 24 hours. This process helps prevent swelling of the brain and lessens the need for oxygen to help prevent brain damage.

Unfortunately, when Julia’s body was warmed to normal temperature, she did not show any significant improvement. Her prognosis was extremely poor and the odds of her regaining any neurologic function was essentially zero. Amazingly, she’s overcoming the odds and is now able to squeeze hands, walk and talk. She still has some memory blocks and is tired, but is doing alright – major thanks to early resuscitation efforts administered by Norman, Keith and his fellow first responder.

Each year, an estimated 300,000 Americans die from sudden cardiac arrest – more than car crashes, firearms, house fires, AIDS, and breast, prostate and colorectal cancer combined. What’s more, this top killer can strike anyone, at any age, even without warning. Take Heart America brings doctors, nurses, paramedics, community leaders and even community members in a new program designed to dramatically increase the number of people who survive.

About CenturyLink

CenturyLink is a leading provider of high-quality broadband, entertainment and voice services over its advanced communications networks to consumers and businesses in 33 states. CenturyLink, headquartered in Monroe, La., is an S&P 500 company and is included among the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest corporations. For more information on CenturyLink, visit www.centurylink.com.