College student survives sudden cardiac arrest

There was never a hint of a problem, no symptoms to indicate Walter “Josh” Watts, 22, would have a near-death experience at such a very young age. He was the picture of health. A 21-year-old student at College of the Ozarks at Point Lookout, Josh was grading papers in a classroom on his college campus on Feb. 7 when he experienced sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

“I think God knew I couldn't handle the memory of that day, so I don't recall anything from an hour before the arrest through two days after,” Josh, a 2008 graduate of California High School, said.

When Josh suddenly dropped to the floor, Associate Professor of Psychology Sheryl Haile thought he was having a seizure and immediately called the on-campus fire department (staffed by students).

When the responders arrived, (within three minutes of receiving the call), Josh had turned blue and didn't have a pulse. Chief Gavin Harnstrom asked his crew to start CPR. Josh was then shocked with an AED (Automated External Defibrillator), at which time he began breathing. He was immediately transported to Skaggs Regional Medical Center in Branson.

See more of this story and more medical stories in this weeks California Democrat.


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