The 75-year-old man, a custodian at his designated poll site, Barnard Elementary School, was about to enter a voting booth when he experienced cardiac arrest and collapsed, according to Doug Buchanan, chief communications officer of the DC Fire and EMS Department.
“Four bystanders jumped in and said he was having difficulty breathing. Then he lost his pulse,” Buchanan told ABC News.
Bystanders immediately called 911 then jumped in to provide assistance. The 911 operator, Jenee Wood, told them where to find an automated external defibrillator nearby.
“One of the bystanders went to go retrieve the AED while they had the 911 operator on speakerphone,” Buchanan said.
Wood, an employee of the Office of Unified Communications, told the bystanders how to perform CPR on the man and gave directions on using the AED as they waited for an ambulance to arrive, Buchanan said.
As they continued to perform CPR on the man, Wood advised them to give two shocks from the AED. With the second shock, “the patient’s pulse was returned, at which point he began gasping,” Buchanan told ABC News.
Now conscious, the man was sent to the hospital to receive further medical attention.
He was “even talking in the back of the ambulance on the way to the hospital,” Buchanan said.
In a tweet later on in the day, DC Fire and EMS pointed out the man’s greatest privilege on Election Day, saying, “He didn’t get to vote, but he got to live.”