By Beth Hillyer
HONOLULU (KHNL) - Last Wednesday a visitor from California getting ready to catch his flight home suffered a massive heart attack at the terminal. Luckily an airport paramedic was nearby and grabbed an automatic external defibrillator and shocked the victim's heart back to a normal rate.
This would not have been possible a year ago but thanks to a new program there are 60 defibrillators at the Honolulu International Airport. And there are hundreds of airport workers trained to use them.
76-year-old Lewis Stokes and his wife Annette, were heading back to Garden Grove, California following their vacation. Stokes was winded by the walk and needed to sit down. Then he fell over. "I never thought it would happen. I'm walking along ready to catch the plane, down I wen,." recalls Lewis Stokes.
Airport Paramedic Andrew Chong rushed to his side and started c-p-r. He told a bystander to grab the defibrillator.
"All we had to do with the AED at that point is put it on and turn it on and it did the job for us," explains Andrew Chong.
The machine shocked his heart back into a normal rhythm. Now for the first time Stokes meets those who saved his life.
"Hi how are you? You look better than the first time I met you. How are you feeling? Wonderful."
For Stokes, it's hard to express his gratitude. "How do you thank someone for saving your life? It's wonderful. "
He thanks the State Airports' Firefighters who worked alongside Chong..
There are 100 defibrillators in ten airports across the state.
"He's our fourth patient saved at Hawaii Airports this year. It was one year ago this month we implemented the defibrillator program, " says Airports' Medical Director Dr. James Ireland.
"I like those defibrillators they are kinda nice." And about having a second chance, "I'm going to enjoy life, enjoy my grandchildren. Life is special, very special not many people have this opportunity."