Man reunited with nurses who saved his life

Michael Thalor, Mercy Health nurses
Michael Thalor is reunited with the nurses who saved his life. (May 17, 2017)

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — A Muskegon man nearly died at running club, but thanks to some off-duty nurses who were having dinner nearby, he’s alive.

Wednesday, Michael Thalor met the women who saved his life.

Thalor said that about three months ago, he had just finished a warmup lap and was getting ready to go out again when he collapsed in the hallway between Pigeon Hill Brewery and Top Shelf. Thankfully, the Mercy Health nurses were eating next door.

“Lucky. In one word, lucky,” Thalor said.

Rose Emmons, Martha Tutak and Cindra Bringedahl rushed to help.

“We all felt God was there, was intervening,” Emmons said. “The fact that we were there when we would have normally been gone long before that happened.”

Thalor had no pulse. The woman started CPR, but it wasn’t working. Then one of them thought to get an AED, but the building didn’t have one.

“Martha, so calm, thinking, ‘Somebody go to the Walker Arena,’” Bringedahl said.

Two doors down, L.C. Walker Arena happened to be open and had an AED.

“Runners ran down, got back in no time,” Bringedahl said.

The AED worked, bringing brought back Thalor’s pulse.

Wednesday, the four were reunited.

Michael Thalor, the three off-duty Mercy Health nurses — Rose Emmons, Martha Tutak and Cindra Bringedahl — and Dr. David Bonnema speaking to media on Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

“Without them, I wouldn’t be here,” Thalor said.

His doctor, Mercy Health Dr. Dirk Bonnema, said Thalor had aborted sudden cardiac death caused by blockage in his arteries. Usually it happens to smokers, people with high blood pressure or cholesterol. But Thalor was healthy and had recently had a brain tumor removed. Doctors say blocked arteries can be a genetic problem.

“You just don’t take anything for granted anymore,” Thalor said.

Bonnema said the time between when someone collapses and when an AED is used can determine the survival rate, which is why it’s so important that businesses have one on hand.

Thalor is already back to running.