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A Phone App Saved His Life After His Heart Stopped

Of all places to be when your heart to stop beating, outside a hospital probably comes second, right after inside a hospital.

Stephen DeMont was at a bus stop in Seattle when he collapsed in front of the University of Washington Medical Center. His wife, Debi Quirk, had downloaded an app called PulsePoint the day before and almost immediately there was a cardiac nurse by their side. She had just finished her shift at the hospital and this app alerted her to a crisis.

Five days later, Stephen DeMont is walking, talking and smiling once again. He cannot stop talking about how PulsePoint saved his life.

But what is this app, exactly?

PulsePoint was created by a former fire chief in Northern California, Richard Price. The app is connected through the city's 911 system and uses a GPS system. When call comes in, operators alert people within a certain radius that CPR assistance is needed. It also provides the location of the nearest defibrillator. Over 900,000 people in the country have downloaded the app and 34,000 people have been called on to respond.

The idea for the app came after Richard Price was at a restaurant in 2009. He saw sirens approaching from his own station and wondered where they were headed. To his shock, they stopped at the restaurant he was at. Turns out, a guest had collapsed and needed assistance.

"The patient was unconscious, unresponsive. I was 20 feet away on the other side of the wall," Price said. "The whole time I was listening to that siren, I could have been making a difference."

It occurred to Price that most of his staff were off-duty at any given time while out in the community. This way, they could be alerted of emergencies and be able to help using their training. The hope is the app will help save lives.

For Stephen DeMont it did just that.

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