Nurse saves Valparaiso umpire at softball nationals


"It was almost like a Bayer commercial," Paula Liles said of the incident.

For Fred Maxey, it was a too real life-or-death drama.

Maxey, 53, of Valparaiso, was umpiring the bases Aug. 2 at the ASA/USA 14-and-under Softball Nationals held in Normal, Ill., before fate introduced him to Liles, an ICU medical surgical nurse from Bremen, Ga.

"My daughter's team had just lost," Liles said of Gabby, who plays for the Georgia Force, "but we were sticking around to watch a friend of Gabby's who plays on another team (the East Cobb, Ga. Bullets)."

Maxey was working the game involving the Bullets when he started experiencing shortness of breath. Soon, Maxey was down on his knees.

"I first saw him waving his arms, and I could see he was having some heart problems," said Liles, who quickly took charge of the situation.

Maxey has had a history of coronary problems, and twice survived heart attacks. He has a pacemaker and a defibrillator installed in his chest. During the game, his defibrillator was going off.

"The people at the park were quick to act, and God bless them," Liles said, "but they were bringing out a (external) defibrillator, and with someone with one already in his chest, that's not going to do any good, and may even mess things up worse."

Maxey was having a hard time communicating, but was able to convey to Liles that his defibrillator was going off.

"That's when I asked if anyone had any aspirin," Liles said of a remedy for a situation she often encounters. "I had him chew on the aspirin.

"We were later told that the aspirin likely saved his life," Liles said -- aspirin dissolves clots in blood vessels that occur when an internal defibrillator malfunctions. "So whoever handed me the aspirin is the real hero."

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