Yousef Ahmed, a third-year medical student, was one of seven people recently recognized by the Naperville Fire Department for coming to the aid of a runner who went into cardiac arrest about six miles into the inaugural Edward Hospital Naperville Marathon and Half Marathon.
“I was surprised and deeply honored that the Naperville Fire Department presented us with the Fire Chief’s Citizen Award,” said Ahmed, a Navy reservist. “I simply felt like I was doing my duty and performed what was expected of me. I was very happy to meet the downed athlete, his family, and the other members of the team who helped save his life.”
At the event, Ahmed was volunteering as a guide runner for a blind athlete with fellow second-year medical student Joseph Simonett. Around mile six they saw a man receiving CPR by three runners, all nurses. Ahmed split from guiding the blind athlete to run to the scene.
He could not find a pulse on the man and, concerned for arrhythmias, asked a police officer for an automated external defibrillator (AED). He then placed the AED pads on the man’s chest and delivered shock.
The man regained consciousness within a few seconds, and Ahmed remained at the scene with the nurses to gather the patient’s history before the paramedics arrived. After relaying the history, he finished the marathon.
“In helping the downed athlete, I felt calm and relied on my medical school training,” he said. “Having graduated from the naval academy, I had been placed in high pressure situations before, so my mind had been relatively conditioned for these types of events. Additionally, I reflected for a moment on how this was similar to combat medicine – something which I have a strong desire to practice.”