By Tim Jimenez
UPPER DARBY (CBS) — A 23-year-old woman was honored as a hero in Upper Darby Wednesday night for saving the life of an off-duty police officer who was suffering cardiac arrest during a workout at a gym in late February.
For Anthony Radico, 43, it was supposed to be a typical workout with his sister at the Planet Fitness in Upper Darby on the afternoon of Sunday February 24th.
“We’re on the treadmill walking and then we were going over to stretch. I wasn’t feeling well. I sat down against the wall and apparently I started to lose consciousness,” Radico recalls.
It was the last thing the seven-year veteran of the Radnor Township police force says he remembers from that day. As his sister was trying to figure out what was wrong, Amanda Beal was finishing up her workout and saw what was happening before her eyes.
“I went right over to him and I noticed he was really breathing heavily and turning kind of blue, so I called 911 immediately. Then worked to kind of keep him conscious with me and had somebody go around and get cold paper towels because I thought he was just overheating and worked out too hard,” Beal said.
She kept monitoring Radico’s pulse until he lost consciousness.
“I got him on his back and just started CPR at that moment until the paramedics got there,” Beal said.
The 23-year-old is CPR certified and is finishing up her last graduate school semester at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital for Occupational Therapy.
“I never, in a million years, thought I would actually have to use CPR,” she said before getting her commendation from the Upper Darby Police Department. “Nor would I think I would be able to be so calm in the situation, but it was just the right place and the right time. I’m really humbled by it. Somebody else is working through me I’d like to think.”
Radico, who says he has never experienced serious health problems in the past, had suffered cardiac arrest. As a police officer, he was used to protecting lives and says he had even administered CPR, but not as long as Amanda had to.
“It’s a great feeling that someone who doesn’t even know me jumped in and took control. She did CPR for seven minutes, which is a long time,” he said.
Radico, who says being a cop has always been his dream job, has been away from the job as he continues to recover. As he rehabs and works to get back in uniform, Amanda is set to graduate from Jefferson in May. Both say they and their families have become close since that fateful day in February.
“Everything is a little different. You’re more grateful just to wake up and it makes you wonder about everything,” Radico said. “I’m told less than five percent of the people that experience what I had actually live. I’m in a small percentage of people thanks to Amanda.”