Anesthesiologist saves life on tennis court


By Alex Boesch - Cedarville University



CEDARVILLE — Swift reactions and execution are key factors in winning a tennis match, but for Dr. John Vitaliti, an anesthesiologist, it also made the difference in saving his friend Abraham Awabdy’s life when he fell into cardiac arrest.

Vitaliti, from Beavercreek, and Awabdy, 81, from Cedarville, were playing a tennis match at the Cedarville University tennis courts on July 8 before Awabdy fell to the ground.

“We had just gone up one game,” said Vitaliti. “When I turned around, he was lying flat on the ground on his back, unresponsive.”

Upon reaching Awabdy, Vitaliti was unable to feel a pulse, so he promptly gave chest compressions (CPR) on Awabdy. Once Cedarville University’s response team, including Don Parvin, captain of campus safety, and Jayson Neri, campus safety officer, and the university’s emergency medical services (EMS) team, they supported the effort to revive Awabdy.

“When Cedarville University’s EMS and campus safety personnel arrived, they were able to use an automatic external defibrillator to revive his pulse and quickly transport him to the hospital,” said Vitaliti.

Without the quick thinking of Vitaliti and the other first responders, Awabdy may not have made it to the hospital, where he recovered to the point he could return home three days later.

“The survival rate for people going into cardiac arrest is only 12 percent, it’s pretty rare,” said Elizabeth Sheridan, EMS coordinator with Premier Health’s Miami Valley Hospital (main campus) and Beavercreek Emergency Center.

Vitaliti and Cedarville first responders were honored by Premier Health at a special ceremony Aug. 9.

“These circumstances point to divine intervention,” said Vitaliti. “God put me there at the right moment because the Lord had more plans for Abe.”

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By Alex Boesch

Cedarville University