Crime & Public Safety

Man went into cardiac arrest on Hilton Head beach, officials say. Bystanders did CPR

Despite high rates of cardiac arrest, many Americans still can’t perform CPR

More than 300,000 people suffer cardiac arrest each year. Doing CPR properly can save someone’s life in these situations, but according to a recent Cleveland Clinic survey, only half of Americans say they know how to perform bystander CPR.
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More than 300,000 people suffer cardiac arrest each year. Doing CPR properly can save someone’s life in these situations, but according to a recent Cleveland Clinic survey, only half of Americans say they know how to perform bystander CPR.

Editor’s note: This story originally was published on Friday, July 5, when the man’s name was not available. He was identified on Thursday, July 11, as Dr. Hector Esquivel of Hilton Head Island. He died July 4.

A man went into cardiac arrest on a Hilton Head beach Thursday, according to a witness and local authorities.

Shore Beach Service operations manager Mike Wagner said lifeguards responded to a dispatch call on South Forest Beach Friday afternoon and found bystanders performing CPR on the man. Hilton Head Fire Rescue spokesperson Joheida Fister said EMS responded to the scene at Alder Lane at 2:41 p.m and also helped with CPR.

Stephanie Blackman, who is vacationing on Hilton Head Island with her family from Rock Hill, said she came upon the scene soon after two people said they pulled the man out of the water.

Blackman’s son, who is an EMT in Fort Mill, helped with CPR, she said. Blackman said the man appeared to be in his 70s.

“They were doing CPR on him for a very long time,” she said. “They never stopped CPR, even when the put him on the red (Shore Beach Service) vehicle.”

Fister said EMS was able to revive the man and get a heartbeat back as he was being transported to the ambulance. He was then transported to Hilton Head Hospital.

Hilton Head Hospital spokesperson Daisy Burroughs said she couldn’t comment on the man’s condition.

Blackman said the man’s family told her he had run in the Firecracker 5K earlier in the day.

Lisa Wilson is a breaking news reporter for The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette. The 25-year newsroom veteran has worked for papers in Louisiana and Mississippi and is happy to call the Lowcountry home.
Mandy Matney is an award-winning journalist and self-proclaimed shark enthusiast from Kansas. She worked for newspapers in Missouri and Illinois before she realized Midwestern winters are horrible, then moved to Hilton Head in 2016. She is the breaking news editor at the Island Packet.
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