CAPITOLA, Calif. – A first date took a harrowing twist when a doctor used CPR to help save the life of a man when he suffered a heart attack during their first date at a beach in Capitola. And the dramatic rescue was caught on camera.
After surgery and months of recuperation, 56-year-old Max Montgomery is doing fine. And he and his date-turned-rescuer, Dr. Andi Traynor, are still seeing each other.
"I happened to be with the right person at the right time," Montgomery joked during a video interview with KTLA on Wednesday.
Now, the couple is sharing a video of the incident in hopes of spreading the message that CPR saves lives.
Traynor and Montgomery were paddleboarding together for their first date when Montgomery suddenly collapsed on the sand in October.
A videographer's camera happened to be set up to record scenery and caught what happened next on video.
Traynor, an anesthesiologist, sprung into action, performing CPR before paramedics arrived to take the pulseless man to a hospital while using a defibrillator to shock his heart awake.
"I wasn't thinking about anything other than taking care of him," she said.
Although some may have been rattled by having to perform a life-saving procedure on a first date, Traynor said the only thing out-of-the-ordinary was the sand.
"I do deal with medical emergencies all the time, but I would say what was different at this time was that I was on the beach," she told KTLA.
The couple said Montgomery's heart was stopped for 17 minutes. But since being revived, his road to recovery has been more than smooth.
"My heart healed from the inside out," Montgomery said. "I'm so lucky that I've been madly in love ever since."
Alexander Baker, whose camera recorded the rescue said that Montgomery later thanked him for recording the couple's first kiss.
"His first kiss was, they call it, the kiss of life," Baker said.
Montgomery is the founder of a charity called "Paddle 4 Good." Among other endeavors, the organization works to train people in CPR.