Couple advocates CPR requirement after heart attack 'miracle'

WESTLAKE, OH (WOIO) - Kenny and Susan Wagner are the type of couple you'll likely find hand-in-hand. In early September, that bond was almost taken after Kenny suffered a "widow maker" heart attack. His main heart artery was completely blocked.

The morning of the heart attack, Kenny Wagner woke up with anxiety. His wife thought it was related to his recent surgeries.

"When he headed out toward the door he collapsed," she said. "There was no pulse, no breathe (and) there was no life in him."

Kenny Wagner, a former standout basketball player at Edinboro University, was in trouble.

"I was in shock," said Susan Wagner. "I checked for a pulse and there was no pulse. I knew that I was the only one here at home to help him, so I knew I had to get it together."

She knew CPR but had never been forced to perform it -- let alone on a loved one. She did it all while managing to call 911.

"I did everything I could to save this man's life," she said.

The couple's friend Mike Gallagher has made the 911 call into a video. The Wagners want to use it to encourage more people to learn CPR.

Kenny Wagner said his wife is his angel.

"Without what she did immediately, acting so committed, so persistent- I just wouldn't be here," he said.

His wife also relied on someone special that day, a dispatcher named Nancy.

"She kept me together and kept me doing the compressions," Susan Wagner said. "I needed to hear her voice. She's my angel that night."

Two Westlake police officers used a defibrillator to get her husband's heart going again. He was shocked a dozen times while en route to University Hospitals. Doctors are amazed he survived without brain damage.

"Every time they came in they'd say, 'There's my miracle man,'" Kenny Wagner recalled. "They just couldn't believe it."

Kenny Wagner was released from the hospital just in time to walk his daughter the aisle in her wedding.

The Wagners are sharing their story at University Hospitals women's heart health event Tuesday night. It's one way they're thanking the first responders who came into their lives. They want every school to make CPR a requirement.

"It makes you incredibly grateful to the first responders," said Kenny Wagner. "It changes your opinion of when you see a fire truck. It changes your opinion when you see a fire truck. It changes your opinion when you see an ambulance. Every day I hit my knees, and I thank God that whatever purpose he brought me through -- I'm just grateful."

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