HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A Henrico man reunites with the police officer and nurses who jumped into action to save his life after suffering a medical emergency that left him unconscious.
Timothy Sites was heading home from an appointment downtown Friday afternoon when he felt his heart starting to fail.
“I have end-stage renal failure and heart, kidney patients can suffer from what’s called flash pulmonary edema,” Sites said. “That’s where the body sends all of the fluid into your lungs which stops you from breathing. Then very often the heart can no longer pump against the lungs and your heart stops.”
Sites recalls pulling up to the intersection of Skipwith Road and Forest Avenue near Henrico Doctors' Hospital, when he felt the end was near.
“I was at the red light and there was no more breathing,” He said. “I knew I had maybe ten seconds to try and get around this car and get to the ER and right at that second I went unconscious."
Somehow his car continued to roll down Forest Avenue, before crossing the median and crashing.
That's when Janet Johnson and another nurse, Kate Giordano, jumped into action.
"I was doing some work on my phone and I heard a crash," Johnson said.
Johnson called 911 while Giordano checked on Sites.
“I hung up with 911 and that’s when he lost his pulse,” she said. “So [Giordano] and I pulled him out of the car. There was another gentleman there who helped us get him out of the car and then she started CPR and the off-duty police officer had pulled up at that point.”
Between the two nurses and Corporal Donald Proffitt with Henrico Police, they were able to keep Sites stable until other first responders arrived.
"I've seen a bunch of different situations but none that I've had to be involved in like that," Proffitt said. “It was a good team effort between me and the other nurses who were on scene as well."
“It was an unbelievable day,” Sites said.
On the day before Thanksgiving, and only one day after he was discharged from the hospital, Sites reunited with two of the three heroes.
“Because they went above and beyond, and did things they didn’t have to do, I’m alive today,” he said. “No other reason. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. If they had not done exactly what they did when they did it I would not be here today.”
But his motivation goes beyond giving thanks.
“Sometimes with our politically charged environment we’re in, our healthcare workers and law enforcement officers don’t get the credit they deserve, because they’re every day heroes,” he said.
“I’m glad he’s here,” Proffitt said. “I was wondering what was going on with him, whether he was still in the hospital or what.”
Sites spent three days in the hospital recovering.
“It touches your heart,” Johnson said. “We do this every day but you’ve got to realize these are people, these are people’s lives that you’re changing and people’s lives that your affecting. It’s just humbling.”
“It’s an amazing story and very appropriate for Thanksgiving because they’ve given me a lot to be thankful for,” Sites said.
Sites encourages the community to thank first responders during the holiday season for their selfless work.