A Waterford man is in the hospital recovering tonight thanks, in part, to good timing and a lot of luck.
“Besides lucky? I am feeling darn good,” said Jeff Corlies.
Corlies is staying in the Cardiac Care Unit at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London. Doctors told him he suffered an arrhythmia that caused him to go into cardiac arrest early Sunday morning.
It all happened at Sully’s Mobil, a corner gas station where a group of locals gather on weekend mornings to pass the time with good conversation.
“We solve the world’s problems, basically,” said Graham Mugovero, a regular at the gas station.
The men usually hang outside the station every Saturday and Sunday around 5 or 6 a.m. Sunday morning, Corlies pulled up to the gas station, walked up to the crowd and then immediately dropped to the ground.
“Everybody who was standing there was just in shock,” said Mugovero.
He said Corlies’ face turned purple, his body turned around and he fell on the pavement.
“I was gone,” said Corlies.
Mugovero immediately ran over to Corlies. Another person in the group called EMTs as Mugovero started CPR.
Mugovero is a retired New London police officer of 29 years. He now spends his days working as a public safety officer with Yale New Haven Health, where he maintains his CPR certification.
“Right place, right time,” said Mugovero. “I was happy to help.”
“That is the perfect survival story,” said Mark Waters, a battalion chief with the New London Fire Department.
Waters said timing is everything when someone goes into cardiac arrest and that when someone receives CPR and early defibrillation, their chances of survival increase. Not only was Mugovero there to start CPR, but EMTs were just finishing up a call nearby and hospital paramedics arrived soon after.
“Somebody was looking out for him,” said Mugovero.
Corlies is now in the hospital and will receive a pacemaker tomorrow. His family is beyond grateful that they did not lose him. They said they would like more people to be trained in CPR and called Mugovero and the other first responders from that day “heroes.”
“It means that he is supposed to be here, taking care of me,” said Cathi Corlies, Jeff’s wife.
“I am going to be looking at things a little bit different from here on in,” said Corlies. “Because it is just so quick that it can all go away.”