Minneapolis man thanks first responders and “bystander” physician for saving his life

Early in the evening on May 17, 2012, John Palda, Jr. was running his usual route in downtown Minneapolis when he collapsed on the Broadway Street NE bridge. Hennepin County Medical Center Emergency Medicine physician Johanna Moore, who happened to be driving by, noticed the small crowd gathered around the man and stopped to help. Palda had no pulse and wasn’t breathing. Dr. Moore immediately initiated CPR and the patient started to respond. Minneapolis Fire Department and paramedics from Hennepin Emergency Medical Services were on the scene within minutes and took over resuscitation.  

Today, just two weeks after the incident and subsequent hospitalization at HCMC, Palda attended the weekly hospital emergency medicine case review conference to meet and thank the first responders from Hennepin EMS and Minneapolis Fire, Dr. Moore, and other health care providers who were involved in his care.  

“I really have all of you to thank, and Dr. Moore, and obviously the process and protocol that was set in place to save my life,” Palda said. “As I understand it there was an eight percent survival rate. I have an angel standing behind me that came along and also a team of people that supported me and took over.”

Palda is an active, athletic 43 year old Minneapolis resident. His cardiac arrest was the result of a previously undiagnosed heart condition.

“In Minneapolis it’s a team effort to get results like we got here,” said Brian Mahoney, MD, Medical Director of Hennepin EMS and the Minneapolis Fire Department. “We need a bystander doing what she did and then with the whole team we are able to get fabulous results.”  

Palda wasn’t carrying any identification while running so he was in the hospital for more than a day before he was able to be identified and friends and family could be notified. Today he encourages everybody to carry an ID when out and about and also wants people to know the importance of learning basic CPR.

The HCMC EMS Education department offers hands only CPR and AED classes for the public. For locations, dates and times, contact HCMC EMS Education at 612-873-5681, select option 0. Learn more at hcmc.org.