DES MOINES, Iowa — Job Cooper’s brush with death happened on Oct. 14, 2020, during a political rally at Des Moines International Airport. “[My wife, Kris, and I] were standing in line, waiting to actually get into the rally.” Job recalled. Kris said, “I was a little bit in front of him … and everybody kind of gasped and I turned around and he was on the ground.”
Strangers immediately started performing CPR. Others gathered in a prayer circle. “And they could not bring his heartbeat back.” said Kris. “I was praying.”
Kris says she knew God was listening because some volunteer paramedics happened to be at that rally. They happened to have an automated external defibrillator (AED). It sent the shock to Job’s heart that meant a trip to a hospital, instead of a funeral home.
Job’s family physician marvels at the outcome. “I don’t know. Somebody was looking out for him, felt he needed to spend more time on the planet. He had more work to do.” Dr. Dennis Zachary said statistically his patient should not be alive. More than 95% of victims of the infamous “Widowmaker” heart attack are not. It involves total blockage of the front, left, main artery.
Job also described it as a surprise attack, “I had a physical about 18 months prior to this incident, and we put all my numbers into this little program, and it said I had a 2% chance of having a heart attack in the next 10 years.”
Kris said the Cooper family is determined to get the same positive outcome for as many cardiac arrest patients as possible. She said one key effort should be “defibrillators wherever we can get ‘em.” “…for police officers, sheriff’s deputies, because usually in volunteer fire departments [the volunteers] are not the first ones [on the scene]. It’s the police officers … and [AEDs] are so easy to use!”
Job said he is forever thankful for the people who rescued him and who healed him. “What’s amazing now is I can work out. I can run. I can lift.” Dr. Zachary said Job is again the exception to the rule, given he has no lasting problems from the life-threatening incident. “No [heart] damage. None!”
Job said one of his first thoughts upon waking up from emergency double bypass surgery was his only daughter’s upcoming wedding. Months later, as he walked her down the aisle, the emotions washed over him. “It was like wow. I can’t imagine missing this.”