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Updated: A Miraculous Life Rescue on the Los Gatos Creek Trail

Los Gatos resident Reed Rowan's life saved by good Samaritans on March 26.

Update: 5:30 p.m., May 4: Los Gatos Park Service officer Dave Gray is the ranger who called 911 to help save the life of a local man who collapsed on March 26 on the Los Gatos Creek Trail after going into cardiac arrest, he wrote in an email to this publication today.

"I am the park ranger in your story," he said. 

However, he corrected some of the facts regarding the heroic rescue given to this publication by Kathy Rowan, the wife of Los Gatos resident Reed Rowan.

Gray said it was Los Gatos parks maintenance worker Jerett Blaskey who discovered Rowan on the ground at the entrance to the trail and called 911.

He also noted he and Amber Pinkerton, a Los Gatos seasonal park service officer, responded from his office about 100 yards away.

"I found the nurse doing CPR on Mr. Rowan. I then assisted her with CPR while Amber held his head. Our goal was to keep the blood flowing as we are taught," he noted.

Gray said it took about five minutes for Santa Clara County firefighters to respond and that during this time period, Rowan had no heartbeat.

When the firefighters arrived with their equipment they finally got a pulse and Rowan was taken to the hospital.

"If you can arrange it, I would like to meet Mr. Rowan. It is very rare that we have someone survive this type of event," Gray said.

5:30 a.m., May 4: Reed Rowan wouldn't be alive today if it wasn't for the heroic efforts of a park ranger, an off-duty ICU nurse and the Santa Clara County firemen from Los Gatos who saved his life.

While jogging on the on March 26, Rowan went into cardiac arrest. He lost consciousness, fell and struck his head hard enough to cause a severe concussion.

A good Samaritan, who wishes to remain anonymous, gave him manual CPR after he collapsed on the trail where it intercepts Miles Avenue, just off University Avenue.

Then a park ranger who passed by and saw what was happening called 911.

Within minutes, firefighters from on University Avenue located him.

Luckily the station is located just a few blocks away from the location and they arrived within minutes defibrillating him three times and bringing him back to life, wife Kathy Rowan said.

By the time he was loaded into the ambulance he was talking, she said.

"It was what you call a sudden death. He just stopped," said friend and nurse Nancee Braddock.

Rowan now has an internal defibrillator, a small battery-powered electrical impulse generator implanted on his chest to help him avoid the risk of sudden cardiac death.

"I wish to give her (nurse that saved her husband) a public thank-you," Kathy said, adding that she gave her husband manual CPR and kept him alive until the firefighters came.

The ranger who passed by and called 911 is unknown, Kathy said.

The longtime Los Gatos resident has a photo of her and husband meeting the paramedic firefighters down at the station who actually shocked him.

"It was a miraculous rescue. Everyone was at the right place at the right time," Kathy said.

Kathy is grateful for the paramedic that accompanied Rowan in the ambulance to Good Samaritan Hospital and stayed with him long enough to give the emergency doctors and nurses a detailed report of the incident.

She also said her husband received outstanding care from all the doctors and nurses at hospital. 

After six days, Rowan was discharged and is already back to work as a professor of anatomy at the College of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University.

Kathy said their two sons, three grandchildren and extended family "cannot possibly thank enough all the heroes who came to Reed's rescue that day and during the following days."

The Rowans have thanked all those who participated in the life-saving incident, except the off-duty ICU nurse who wants to remain anonymous.

"I hope she sees this article and knows how much her quick action means to us.
Many of our family and friends have commented that Reed must have had a guardian angel looking out for him that day. He did and she knows who she is," said the Palo Alto Medical Foundation administrator.

Rachel Nathan May 04, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Thanks for this feel-good report, so glad it worked out for the Rowan family. Good reminder to update CPR certification.
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz May 05, 2012 at 07:19 AM
Always Great to hear Good News! That's Wonderful!
Sharon Childs May 07, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Thank you for this update! Ranger Dave is the best. Both he and Amber take great pride in making sure our parks and community are taken care of. Thank you both for being on the secne.

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