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Husband Survives Sudden Cardiac Arrest Thanks To Wife's CPR

THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) - While the world is counting coronavirus cases, a family in Thornton is counting their blessings. The Smiths have a healthy baby boy, Sawyer Ray Smith, born April 30.

He is his doting parents pride and joy. But dad, Derek, is the family miracle.

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(credit: CBS)

"Not many people make it out of what happened to me," Derek told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

"It was my absolute nightmare," said Jaime, Derek's wife.

Jaime was 7 months pregnant. Early Feb. 11, she was awakened by Derek gasping for breath.

"I could tell he was literally dying in front of me," Jaime said.

Derek, 31, was in cardiac arrest. Jaime, a physician assistant at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, called 911 and started CPR.

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(credit: Jaime Smith)

"I just kept thinking you've got to count and give him breaths, count and give him breaths," she said.

First responders arrived and revived him. Derek was rushed to one hospital and days later to Swedish Medical Center.

There, he learned he had a rare condition, Wolf Parkinson White Syndrome (WPW), an extra electrical pathway in his heart.

"I was definitely confused," he said. "I had no idea."

Dr. Jason Huang, a cardiac electrophysiologist, did a procedure, known as ablation, that destroyed the abnormal connection.

"I think he's going to go back to living a normal, healthy life," said Dr. Huang.

Derek is the miracle, but Jaime is the hero.

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(credit: Jaime Smith)

"Everyone should learn CPR," said Huang, "If it hadn't been done, he would have died."

"She is my lifesaver," said Derek.

Jaime is simply grateful.

"I'm thankful that we get the rest of our lives together and that our story didn't end in February," said a tearful Jaime. "That's all I could ever ask for."

A re-start for the Smiths, a happy baby, a new beginning.

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