An elite runner who suffered a heart attack during a marathon was saved by a pair of spectators. Meghan Roth, 34, was on the eighth mile of the Boston Marathon when she fell to the ground. Fortunately for the running coach and new mother, a pair of nurses happened to be watching the race nearby. Retired critical care nurse Marie Rodgers was watching the race from her apartment window and saw Roth hit the ground. She happened to be with her brother’s roommate, nurse Cameron Howe and the two of them ran down to help Roth.
The nurses rolled Roth over and she started gasping for air. “Neither one of us could find a pulse,” recalls Rodgers. “So I started CPR and called to a woman on the sideline to call 911.” Rodgers performed chest compression while Howe kept Roth’s airway clear until an ambulance arrived 15 minutes later. EMTs gave Roth three shocks and she regained consciousness.
When Roth came to, she was confused. “I don’t even remember hitting the ground,” she says. “So when I woke up in the ambulance, I didn’t realize the seriousness of it.” EMTs explained to her that she had gone into cardiac arrest and then she realized how lucky she was. “I felt like I could be dead right now,” she says. “It’s just amazing and unbelievable.” She spent four days in a Boston hospital and underwent surgery to implant a defibrillator in her chest, but was then able to go home to her 10-month-old son. Roth is grateful for the women who saved her that day. “I’m so lucky they were there,” Roth says. “They saved my life, and I don’t think I can ever thank them enough.”