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Friends' actions aboard ship save woman's life
Stafford deputies and other government workers on a weekend cruise help save the life of a woman whose heart stopped beating

 This group photo was taken before Patty Bliss (far right) suffered her cardiac arrest. Lisa Logan, the friend who invited her, is in the middle, wearing the striped shirt.
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Date published: 11/5/2012

By CATHY DYSON

A sheriff's deputy who had never performed CPR in an emergency helped save the life of a Stafford County woman whose heart stopped beating as she embarked on her first cruise.

On Oct. 20, Patty Bliss joined neighbor Lisa Logan and others from the Sheriff's Office and various government offices in Stafford County for a weekend getaway.

The 25 women gathered in Norfolk for Carnival Glory's "cruise to nowhere." The ship went out to sea that Saturday at 4 p.m., and returned Monday morning.

The Stafford group was eager to enjoy every minute of the cruise and was one of the first onboard after those with special needs.

By 12:30 p.m., the Stafford women were on deck with lunch and drinks while other passengers arrived.

Logan and Bliss were seated, and the two were talking. The next moment, Logan said Bliss had passed out and was hanging over the side of her chair.

Logan, who works in crime prevention, thought Bliss was choking or having a seizure. She's known her neighbor about two years and called Bliss' husband, Kenny, to see if Patty had any medical conditions Logan didn't know about.

He said she didn't.

Meanwhile, 1st Sgt. Nancy Morin and Detective Christine Hammond were among those gathered. Morin didn't think she could help if Bliss were having a seizure, but looked closer and saw Bliss wasn't having seizure-like symptoms at all.

She wasn't breathing, she didn't have a pulse, and her skin had turned grayish-purple, Morin said.

Bliss was suffering from sudden cardiac arrest. Her heart had stopped pumping blood throughout her body.

"I thought she was gone," said Morin, whose two daughters, 26 and 27, were nearby.

The older daughter, a nurse, started to cry. She was certain the woman on the floor was dead.

Morin immediately started cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Even though she's been with the Sheriff's Office for 15 years and has been trained and recertified in CPR, she's never performed the procedure on a person.

Morin did the chest compressions while Hammond blew into Bliss' mouth. Pamela Cobb, a paralegal with Stafford's Commonwealth's Attorney Office, did the counting.


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