It started out as just another day at the office for Akron Children’s psychiatrist Dr. John Bober. It was a warm summer day and he was sitting in his office in the Advanced Elastomer Building (AES) on Main Street.
“It’s not uncommon for me to see people sitting outside my window because there are tables there for people to eat lunch,” he said. “I noticed a man and a woman sitting at a table talking and just a few minutes later I heard a thud and the woman started screaming for help.”
Although he is trained in CPR and advanced life support, it’s not a skill Dr. Bober often puts to use as an outpatient pediatric psychiatrist.
“I rushed outside to see what I could do,” he said.
At the same time, Akron police officers Jason Strainer and Kent Shively also heard the woman’s cry for help and headed her way.
“We all arrived at the same time and found the gentleman face down,” Dr. Bober said. “We turned him over and couldn’t find a pulse so we started CPR.”
While Officer Strainer continued CPR, Dr. Bober offered to get the automated external defibrillator (AED) from his office.
“We administered one cycle of a shock with very little response from the patient,” he said.
Within minutes EMS arrived and took over, eventually transporting the man to Cleveland Clinic Akron General.
In the meantime, staff from Dr. Bober’s department came out to offer emotional support to the man’s sister.
“It turns out the gentleman had just been discharged from the hospital earlier in the day and suffered from complex medical problems,” he said. “Sadly, he passed away the next day.”
While the outcome of the story may not be a happy one, Mary Williams, regional communications officer from the American Red Cross of Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties says that doesn’t take away from the efforts of the everyday heroes who responded to the call for help.
“As a community leader in emergency preparedness and response, the American Red Cross annually presents the Acts of Courage Awards to local individuals who have acted courageously in a time of emergency,” she said. “Like Dr. Bober’s story, there are many ordinary individuals who have acted extraordinarily by reaching out to help others in times of great need.”
On March 1, Dr. Bober, along with Officer Strainer, will be honored at the Acts of Courage Awards ceremony being held at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn.
“This award ceremony grew out of a desire to develop a special event that is closely related to the humanitarian mission of the Red Cross,” said Mary. “What better way to celebrate the spirit of humanitarianism than by honoring those individuals who have shown courage, coolness and kindness during a time of emergency.”
While appreciative of his nomination, Dr. Bober was surprised to hear he was receiving an award.
“As a condition of employment with the hospital, we are required to go through annual basic life support training,” he said. “I’m glad I had the skills to help out in this situation. I don’t think I did anything all that special – hopefully I did what anyone would do given the circumstances.”