Location: Kingwood, Texas
Date: July 1, 1989
On July 1, 1989, Millie Craig had been a fire and EMS dispatcher in Kingwood, Texas, a suburb of Houston, for nine years. In that time, she had handled almost every kind of emergency call imaginable. That Saturday, Millie was working the morning shift, which had been extremely slow so far. But that day, for the first time, Millie handled a dispatcher's worst nightmare.
At her home a mile away, Millie's son David was visiting from out of town, with his fiancé, Cynthia. Millie's 53-year-old husband, O.V., was mowing the lawn when David and Cynthia came outside and sat on lawn chairs, O.V. joining them.
David, Cynthia, and O.V. were talking when O.V.'s glass of water suddenly dropped out of his hand, and he started kicking his feet on the ground. Cynthia called 911, and Millie heard David scream, "He's having a stroke or a heart attack or something!"
After that phone call, Millie realized that O.V. may have died, and she couldn't do anything about it. She couldn't leave the station until another dispatcher showed up.
Another Kingwood dispatcher, Kathy Splendido, was at her house when she heard Millie's call of a possible heart attack come over her pager, noticing how intense Millie's voice was, realizing it was probably someone she knew and rushing to the station to take over for Millie.
David began performing CPR on his father, who was not breathing, had no heartbeat and all of the symptoms of a heart attack. Millie knew it was serious due to David's tone of voice when he yelled into the phone, and began thinking, "He may be dead. And there is nothing I can do."
"I had the vision of him in a coffin while David was doing CPR," Cynthia said, "and it really scared me."
Paramedics Neil Botting and Mike Legoudes arrived at Millie's house, finding David performing CPR on O.V., determing that he had no pulse. Splendido arrived at the station, while Millie rushed back to her house.
The paramedics continued to do CPR until setting up their defibrillator, determining by the reading through the paddles that O.V. was in ventricular fibrillation. Legoudes had a big fear that O.V. was not going to live, and didn't know how to say it due to the fact that Millie and O.V. were close friends of his.
O.V. went out of defibrillation and into a very slow idioventricular rythym that did not generate a pulse, so CPR was resumed, and O.V. was given cardiac drugs.
More than five minutes had passed since O.V.'s heart had stopped beating, and he went into a treatable rythym. Millie went to her house, David meeting her at the bottom of the driveway, and O.V. was fully conscious eleven minutes after his devastating heart attack, and he was loaded into the ambulance and brought to the hospital. David spent the night in the hospital with him, knowing that he had saved his father's life, and that he was fine.
O.V.'s heart attack caused no muscle damage to his heart. With medications, he began living a normal life. O.V. said he always cared for David when David was a little boy, but now he appreciated David caring for him. "If David had not done CPR, if Cynthia had not made the call, and if Millie had not dispatched the paramedics, I would have had no chance at all," O.V. said.
"If David hadn't been home, I would have gone home in the afternoon and found O.V. dead," Millie said. "Because he was clinically dead. This call definitely brought this family closer than ever before."