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Boy's quick action saves dad during heart attack

TNS Regional News • Mar 5, 2014 at 3:17 PM

Ryan Murphy, 13 and dreaming of the major leagues, is playing catch in the driveway with his father. Dad throws a ground ball past him. Ryan runs to grab it.

That’s all the time it takes.

When he turns around, his father is facedown on the pavement.

He’s messing with me, Ryan thinks.

But then the Delaware boy sees Mark Murphy’s arms shake. He sees the blood pooling in his face, sees it quickly growing purple. He realizes his 56-year-old dad is dying.

“I think adrenaline kicked in,” Ryan recalled three days later, sitting at the foot of his father’s bed at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.

And so Ryan, without thought or hesitation, proceeded to save his dad’s life.

Yesterday, Ryan and his stepmother, Brenda, gathered in Murphy’s hospital room, and the three of them recalled what had brought them there on Saturday afternoon. Murphy mostly listened.

With his dad dying on the ground, the teen said, he called 911. His voice was steady: “Ah, I think my dad is having a heart attack.” And later: “He stopped breathing, I think.”

The operator talked him through CPR. He put the phone on the ground and thrust his palms into his father’s chest. Murphy’s face returned to a normal color, but his eyes stayed closed. His mouth hung open.

Ryan listened for sirens.

The neighborhood was still.

They’re never gonna come, he thought.

Within eight minutes — forever to a kid trying to save his dad — they did. Rescuers jump-started Murphy’s heart. Ryan, relieved of duty — a 13-year-old, after all — lost it. His stepmom could barely understand him on the phone.

“His phone call to me was a mess,” Brenda said. “It was sobbing, crazy.” The woman who administers driving tests for a living blew through stop signs to get home.

Murphy was flown to Riverside, where a doctor inserted a stent, relieving the total blockage in his left anterior descending artery. His prognosis is good. In time, he’ll probably be coaching Ryan again.

“The heart will heal,” said interventional cardiologist Anthony Chapekis.

Murphy was tired yesterday, but he said he feels lucky. He doesn’t remember any of what happened. He just threw a ball, and opened his eyes the next day in a hospital.

“I woke up, and I’m thinking, ‘What in the world is going on?’” Murphy said. “And the nurse said, ‘Well, thank your son.’”


By Lori Kurtzman - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)

©2014 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

Visit The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio) at www.dispatch.com

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