DC Theatergoers Save Man Having Heart Attack

Nurse, former Eagle Scout performed CPR

Two theatergoers who knew CPR helped save another person in the audience when he had a heart attack last month.

When Dr. Edward Cornfeld suffered a heart attack at the Folger Theatre, he was the only doctor in the house.

But Dylan Mehri, who learned CPR as an Eagle Scout and became recertified a few years ago, and Michelle Michaels, a nurse, went to Cornfeld’s aid.

It was Mehri’s first time performing CPR on someone.

“The thing with CPR is you don’t have any real hands-on experience unless you are in a situation where it’s necessary to keep someone alive,” he said.

He admitted being nervous.

“You’re dealing with a real human who is dying,” he said. “You don’t have a second chance, here. You have to go out there and perform.”

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Michaels, who has performed CPR hundreds of times, said it was a little scary for her, too.

“Completely different situation doing CPR in an out-of-hospital situation than it is when you’re supported by professionals and equipment,” she said.

“I owe my life to these people,” said Cornfeld, who practiced medicine for more than 40 years. “It’s the least I can do to help someone else, because that’s what we live for, to help other people I believe.”

He hopes his story encourages others to learn CPR.

“It’s remarkable how little time it will take to learn this, and it’s an easy skill to master, and the benefits, I think, are marvelous -- from a crusty old man,” he said.

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