Good Samaritans save man’s life after he went into cardiac arrest at Home Depot

Joe Pacaholski wants to meet the people who saved his life

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A Seminole County man said some Good Samaritans helped save his life a couple of weeks ago while he was shopping inside a Home Depot.

The man said that a new AED device inside the store helped play a critical role in surviving the ordeal.

Joe Pacaholski said on March 29 he collapsed while inside Home Depot’s Altamonte Springs location.

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“If it wasn’t for that initial call from the cashier, I wouldn’t be here and then everyone in between,” Pacaholski said.

Pacaholski said the next thing he remembers is waking up in a hospital room the next day.

“They explained to me what happened, and I was in shock. They were talking about burns on my chest from an AED device. I had no idea,” Pacaholski said.

With the help of his friend Lisa Dettori, the two have been piecing together what led up to his cardiac arrest. The incident put him in the hospital for more than a week.

“You were actually helping somebody pick up soil when that happened, and whoever this big man is that jumped in and started doing CPR, and then the nurse came in,” Dettori said.

The details of the heroic efforts having been coming to light, which not only include the staff, but also an unknown man who began CPR and a nurse who administered the AED.

“I would love to meet these people. I know some of them, but I don’t know the nurse of this other person who worked on me,” Pacaholski said.

Pacaholski said that he was diagnosed with COVID-19 this past December.

Prior to that, he said that he was not aware he suffered from any type of cardiovascular illness. He said that his doctors told him that the virus could have played a factor in his cardiac arrest.

In the latest CDC guidance issued on April 8, the agency lists “post-COVID conditions” to include possible effects on the cardiovascular system.

Pacaholski said that he’s thankful for the strangers who stepped in.

“Thank you very much for being observant, paying attention and caring. And you need all three of those pieces to make this happen,” Pacaholski said.

About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.