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Friends' actions aboard ship save woman's life page 2
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

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For every 30 times Morin pushed on Bliss' chest, Hammond blew two breaths into her mouth. The color came back to Bliss' skin as the two helped her maintain life.

"Christine was breathing for her, and I was pumping her heart," Morin said. "Her body was reacting to what we were doing."

'YOU MEAN SHE'S ALIVE?'

Bliss' heart didn't start beating on its own. Other women in the group asked crew members for an automated external defibrillator, a device that sends an electric shock to people suffering from cardiac arrest.

Cobb said crew members weren't responding, but instead "ran around in circles trying to figure out what to do."

Logan said that Liz Scott, a Spotsylvania County deputy, clapped her hands in the face of one crew member and told him to get the device--"and get it now!"

By that point, Morin and Hammond had given CPR for 15 to 20 minutes.

When the defibrillator arrived, a crew member shocked Bliss once, and the machine indicated another shock was needed. When the crew member hesitated, Hammond pushed the button to shock Bliss again.

And again.

By that time, a ship stretcher had arrived, and Bliss was rolled away. She was taken by ambulance to Norfolk Sentara Hospital.

Those on the ship were certain she had died.

Logan went with Bliss to the hospital and texted Morin later, asking how it felt to save a life.

"You mean she's alive?" Morin asked, shocked.

Bliss spent five days in the hospital, and doctors determined that an infection around her heart had caused cardiac arrest.

She had a defibrillator implanted in her chest. If her heart stops again, the device will send a shock to restart it.

'WORDS CAN'T DESCRIBE IT'

Bliss is 42, and an administrative assistant for a Washington firm that deals with national security and public safety.

She's never had a problem with her heart or a family history of heart problems.

"I watch my cholesterol, work out three times a week," she said in a phone interview.

Bliss doesn't remember boarding the ship, getting her luggage or taking a group photo with seven other women from Stafford.

"I realized I was in the hospital--I don't know if it was that day or the next--and I had to ask what was going on," she said. "I had no idea."


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