September 16, 2011 was opening night for “Neighbors,” a satirical play at the Mixed Blood Theater, where actor Warren Bowles portrayed the character of “Mammy.” In one of the play’s final scenes, Bowles experienced a cardiac arrest and collapsed during his performance. Witnesses began CPR and called 911. The 911 caller was transferred to the EMS Communications Center where the dispatcher provided instructions while the ambulance was en route.
Hennepin EMS paramedics and Minneapolis Fire Department first responders arrived on scene and were able to provide additional care to Bowles. He regained a pulse and was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center.
Although he doesn’t have any memory of the events of that evening, Bowles says, “Someone said the work of the paramedics and first responders was miraculous. I didn’t have a heartbeat and wasn’t breathing. I was dead. But they saved me.”
Every second counts during a cardiac arrest because the heart stops beating and blood flow to the brain ceases. Fortunately for Bowles, his arrest was witnessed by others, cardiopulmonary resuscitation was started right away – and the Mixed Blood Theater is in Hennepin County. According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES), people having a cardiac arrest in Hennepin County have some of the best survival rates in the country.
On Tuesday, November 29 at 8:30 p.m., Bowles met and thanked Hennepin County Medical Center paramedics Gio Caponi and Wayne Schneider, and EMS Dispatcher Jake Cree who were involved in his care on September 16.