Dwight Mensinger was a heavy smoker. On February 2, 2004, then 47-year-old Dwight decided to quit. He signed up for a class at his medical center to help him stop smoking. He was scheduled to turn in his pack of cigarettes at 6 p.m. that evening.
Dwight did quit smoking that day, but not the way he planned. At just after 10 am, the husband and father of two suffered sudden cardiac death while in a meeting with a co-worker in his office in Fremont, Calif.
"I don't remember feeling anything," Dwight says. "I just went down."
Dwight's skin was purple. He wasn't breathing and had no pulse. His co-worker screamed for help, and she and another woman at the company called 911. Neither woman was trained in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), but the 911 dispatcher walked them through it over the phone. Another co-worker, a man, took over giving CPR when the woman became tired.
Within minutes the Fremont Fire Department arrived. They worked on Dwight, giving him oxygen and shocking his heart for 45 minutes before transporting him to the Emergency Room.
When he regained consciousness around noon that day, his first concern was his 8 and 11 year old daughters. They needed to be picked up from school. Medical staff at the hospital told Dwight he couldn't leave.