Family gives ultimate assist to save a life

When Gail Baker’s husband suddenly collapsed at their Auburn-area home, she instinctively knew what to do.

When Gail Baker’s husband suddenly collapsed at their Auburn-area home, she instinctively knew what to do.

It was a good thing. Her quick-thinking actions and her CPR training saved a life.

“It automatically kicked in,” said Gail, who was assisted by her son, Chris, and his friend, Derek Paller, in the rescue efforts. “You just don’t think, you just do it.”

More than a year has passed since the episode, but Jeff Baker – a 53-year-old structural engineer – is doing just fine. And while he didn’t suffer a heart attack, Jeff was diagnosed with ventricular fibrillation, a serious and often lethal condition. Doctors implanted a defibrillator in his chest, and he has been doing well ever since.

Jeff and his family indeed feel fortunate.

“I basically died,” Jeff said. “I woke up and found that these three wonderful people saved me. All their training worked, and they should be really proud of themselves.”

For their actions, Gail, Chris and Paller were honored Thursday by the regional American Red Cross at the 12th annual Heroes Breakfast – “Everyday People, Everyday Heroes.” The event, held at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, presented the trio with the Family Rescue award. Twelve other “heroes” were recognized as well.

Gail was taken aback by the honor.

“I was extremely surprised because I don’t feel like a hero,” she said. “I just love him. It was just a natural thing to do.”

On March 25, 2007, Jeff went upstairs to tell Gail that dinner was ready. She was working on a project and said that she would be down for supper soon. As Jeff was leaving, he turned and gave her a kiss, took three steps and went face down onto the hardwood floor.

Gail yelled to her family downstairs for help and immediately began CPR on Jeff, who was convulsing and turning blue. Gail instructed her mother-in-law to call 911, and asked Chris, who also was trained in CPR, to help her with chest compressions and rescue breathing. Paller also assisted.

In six minutes, paramedics arrived. They twice jolted

More in News

Auburn Municipal Airport, which began operations in 1969, is one of the busiest of its kind in the state. REPORTER FILE PHOTO
Airport Appreciation Day to take wing Sept. 29

Displays, food, activities part of special event open to the public

Attending the Breakfast for Kids are, from left: Mark Hendricks, Federal Way and Auburn Boys and Girls Club; Jen Cohen, athletic director, University of Washington; Wanda and Ron Crockett; and King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. COURTESY PHOTO
Federal Way and Auburn Boys and Girls Club breakfast raises a record breaking $71,470

Breakfast for Kids, an annual fundraiser for the Federal Way and Auburn… Continue reading

Mayor’s food drive begins week of Sept. 24

Put donations out on your Waste Management collection day

Salmon SEEson’ returns: Spot fish coming home to King County rivers and streams

Native salmon – including sockeye, chinook, coho and chum – have begun… Continue reading

Show of classic chrome

Hot Rod Garage Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show shines at the Bus Barn Bonanza Bazaar

Gerstman chosen as vice president at Highline College

Higher ed, fundraising veteran to join leadership team

City awards contract to provide new roadway markings

The work calls for the removal of paint and thermoplastic road channelization… Continue reading

World War II veterans are special guests at breakfast

World War II veterans attended a quarterly breakfast sponsored by the Muckelshoot… Continue reading

Catch Sounder train to Seahawks game Sept. 23

Stops in Auburn, Kent and Tukwila before reaching Seattle

Most Read