Professional News

UK CPR Instructor Saves a Life

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 26, 2009) - Vacations are a time for people to rest, relax, travel and just take a break from the regularity of daily life. However, for Vicki Sageser, a recent trip brought the opportunity to save a life.

During a visit to North Carolina in late July, Sageser and her husband, Gene, were awakened by a commotion in the hall of their hotel. A woman was screaming that her husband was having a heart attack, so Sageser, a part-time first aid instructor in the University of Kentucky Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion in the College of Education, acted quickly. She informed those present that she was trained in first aid and CPR and asked permission to begin. The man’s wife agreed and Sageser began the procedure she teaches to UK students every semester.

“I told Gene and the others in the room that we needed to get the man on the floor to have a hard surface on which to effectively do CPR,” said Sageser, who received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the UK College of Education. “They lifted him to the floor, and I immediately checked for signs of life. There were none, so I started compressions and breaths like I had been trained.”

After 15 minutes of a continuous cycle of 30 chest compressions and two breaths, emergency personnel arrived. Ultimately, an Automated External Defibrillator was required to revive the man’s heart. Although Sageser’s work did not restart his heart, her ability to deliver CPR for such an extended amount of time delivered the oxygen needed to prevent any permanent brain damage.

The family kept in touch with Sageser over the course of the next week and relayed the good news that after just a few days he was awake and alert. He even was able to return home a week after the incident.

“We visited him in the hospital the next Friday evening,” Sageser said. “It was wonderful to see him alive and doing well. We shared laughs and tears in that 30-minute time we spent together. I am humbled and so thankful that God used me in this amazing way with the talents and skills he has blessed me with.”

Upon her return to teaching Responding to Emergencies at UK this fall, Sageser will be able to relay the importance of the skills her students will possess when completing the course.

“In those instances, we do it no matter what,” Sageser said. “He was in trouble and I reacted. I haven’t been able to tell my students what it is like to save someone using CPR before, but now I can.”

In addition to UK, first aid and rescue certification courses are locally offered by the American Red Cross Bluegrass Area Chapter. For more information, call (859) 254-8354 or visit For other areas, visit to find your local chapter.