A 74-year-old woman died March 15 after going into full cardiac arrest in the Gulf of Mexico just off the shore in Holmes Beach.
Before Manatee County and West Manatee Fire Rescue personnel arrived, other beachgoers tended to the woman, who had been found in the Gulf in the 3400 block of Gulf Drive in Holmes Beach.
“It is believed she was in the water and went into cardiac arrest,” said Manatee County public safety spokesman Capt. Larry Leinhauser.
One volunteer rescuer, a vacationing doctor from Canada, performed CPR until emergency medical service paramedics arrived. The public safety department could not provide the name of the doctor or the deceased woman.
“He was very active in the rescue efforts, performing CPR until we arrived along with marine rescue and the fire department,” Leinhauser said of the doctor. “The doctor did a terrific job trying to save this lady. Our crew was very appreciative of his efforts.”
Beachgoers also responded last summer in an incident on the beach in Anna Maria in which two people died after becoming caught in rip currents.
These types of incidents are the reason the Friends of the Island Library and WMFR are partnering to present life-saving classes at the Island Branch Library, 5701 Marina Drive.
The classes are free to attend, but pre-enrollment at the library is required.
One class took place March 19. Upcoming classes are scheduled for 10 a.m. March 25 and 10 a.m. March 29. Students will learn to use an automatic external defibrillator and how to respond when someone is choking, cannot breathe or has suffered cardiac arrest.
Friends president Beverly Neville said the classes are important because procedures have changed in recent years.
New guidelines recommend rescuers start CPR with hard and fast chest pumps rather than the old “ABC” method, which involved two breaths of air into the mouth followed by 30 chest pumps.
The old method took time and delayed the chest compressions that get blood circulating, according to the AHA.