top of page

A Hero Saves Two Lives in One Day with CPR in Charlotte, NC

Ever wonder if the CPR skills you’ve learned will ever save a life? Well, for “Real American Hero” Christopher Hatcu – CPR know-how enabled him to save two lives in the same night at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.

That’s right! During two, completely separate incidents, Christopher Hatcu performed CPR and saved the lives of two individuals – both of whom collapsed as the result of a cardiac arrest.

Bystander CPR is absolutely the most important thing when it comes to a cardiac arrest

On January 22 of this year, Christopher was working at our own Charlotte-Douglas International airport, where he works as an American Airlines customer service representative. He noticed a commotion caused after customer Paul Gonnelli collapsed as the result of a cardiac arrest.

While the majority of the bystanders looked on in panic, yelled or got on their cell phones out to call for help, Christopher immediately put his CPR training to work in a very hands-on way and began performing CPR. As the result of his quick and accurate attention, Christopher kept Gonnelli’s heart pumping until a team of EMTs could take over.

As if saving one life wasn’t enough for the night, Christopher became aware that another airport customer had collapsed, due to a cardiac arrest, 10 gates down from where he was working. He couldn’t believe the news but ran down to the gate anyway.

Sure enough, Christopher arrived at the other gate to find a second victim on the ground. He used CPR once again, and resuscitated the second victim with equal success. As a result of his quick-thinking and heroic efforts, Christopher Hatcu received an American Airlines “Real American Hero Award,” and he has the very unique, layperson’s ability to say that he saved two lives in one day – or one shift – when it comes right down to it.

Courtney Martinson from MEDIC was one of the EMT responders on both scenes. He fully credits Christopher with saving the live of Gonnelli and the second cardiac arrest victim, and reiterated what the American Heart Association and CPR instructors around the globe know to be true, “Bystander CPR is absolutely the most important thing when it comes to a cardiac arrest.”

You can watch Christopher Hatcu receiving his Real American Hero cape in WCNC’s live recording of the event.

We Learn From Heroes Who Perform CPR

Here are some of the things we can learn from Christopher’s quick-thinking actions.

Corporate CPR training works

Corporate CPR training is becoming increasingly popular as company owners realize the benefits of having trained personnel at their places of business. From the ability to save colleagues, to the potential for saving the life of a customer or client, the more CPR training is shared among employees, the better chances of survival those same employees – or customers – have should someone suffer a cardiac arrest at or near your business location.

Imagine the positive branding impression experienced by both American Airlines, as well as the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, as news of this event went viral.

Corporate CPR training is affordable and can be brought right to your door, making it an easy item to integrate into new employee training modules.

The quicker the response, the better

One of the reasons Paul Gonnelli lived to tell about Christopher’s heroic CPR rescue is because he received chest compressions within a minute or so of collapsing. The data is clear that every second matters when it comes to surviving a cardiac arrest with optimal mental and physical capacities intact. After the heart stops, the brain is immediately deprived of oxygen, which is why every passing minute before CPR commences decreases a person’s chances of survival by 10%.

Don’t Let the Fear of Rescue Breathing Stop You

Did you pick up on the fact that while Christopher noticed people calling for help via yells and phones, he was the only one who took action? Aside from not having proper CPR training, this is likely due to the fact that we’re often afraid to perform rescue breathing on strangers, since touching mouths is such an intimate act.

While rescue breathing is recommended in certain scenarios, the simple act of performing chest compression-only CPR on a cardiac arrest victim makes a tremendous difference. We’ve learned that when you perform compression-only CPR on a cardiac arrest victim, you have the same statistical odds of saving his/her life as when using CPR with rescue breathing. EMTs will supply rescue breathing and oxygen when they arrive.

Get CPR Training Today!

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page