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Maple Lake Native Remembered For Helping Invent CPR

MAPLE LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) -- Though many never knew his name, most heard of what he did. Every day, people around the world are brought back to life thanks to his simple procedure.

Sadly, Dr. James Jude passed away at the age of 87 at his home in Coral Gables, Florida.

His journey began in a modest Maple Lake, Minnesota home, which has since been turned into the Irish Blessings Coffee Shop. It was in the home that James Roderick Jude was born on June 7, 1928.

"He was very modest, very modest," Jude's sister Monica Loch said.

Loch recalls a local boy who was driven to succeed and someone who wanted to do everything.

"He applied to West Point and was accepted, but he wanted to be a doctor so he didn't go," she said.

Instead, James Jude attended St. Thomas College (now the University of St. Thomas) and then the University of Minnesota Medical School. After graduating at the U of M, her brother went to work for Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

It was there in 1959, that Jude and two researchers discovered -- almost by accident -- that doing chest compressions on a dog could reverse deadly cardiac arrest. The dog was revived after the chest compressions restored blood pressure to the heart.

Dr. Jude soon began his work of applying the procedure to humans. In July of 1959, Dr. Jude was part of the medical team performing gall bladder surgery on a 35-year-old woman when she suddenly went into cardiac arrest. Instead of opening the chest and massaging the heart directly -- the standard procedure at the time -- Dr. Jude began applying a rhythmic manual pressure on the heart, reviving the patient.

In 1960, Dr. Jude and fellow researchers William Kouwenhoven and G. Guy Knickerbocker authored a paper titled "Closed-Chest Cardiac Massage" in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

It wasn't long before cardiac massage was merged with pulmonary resuscitation, and the age of CPR was born.

Jude's work soon won him praise in medical circles, and he was named as one of the ten outstanding men in America. That honor won Jude a private meeting with President John F. Kennedy.

"It's a simple thing, and now we all know it," Loch said. "Everybody can learn it and use it, the Boy Scouts, everybody."

Fifty-five years later, Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation is taught to all ages, in all corners of the world.

"And to think about this, where it came from and how it started to be shared with people, a little town of Maple Lake with 300 people," Jude's nephew, Stephen Loch said.

Looking back, Jude's older sister credits the values of a small town for giving James Jude a special gift -- the skill and foresight to help create a simple procedure that restores life to the lifeless.

Monica Loch adds that her brother was so modest he didn't even inform his mother about his work in developing CPR. She learned after a local doctor read about the new life-saving procedure in medical journals.

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