SEPTA rider saves man having heart attack

PHILADELPHIA - December 28, 2012

49-year-old Edith Haage, a physical therapist from Hatboro, Pa., normally watches the Eagles on TV, but a remarkable chain of events put her at last week's game against the Bengals, and ultimately onboard a SEPTA train where she would end up helping to save a man visiting from England.

"This was my first Eagles game," said Haage.

Last week, a client of Edith's husband gave him two tickets to the game, but at the last minute he was called in to work and couldn't go, so he gave the tickets to his wife and daughter Rachel.

They decided to take the train. They left a little early when it was clear the Eagles would lose, and took the SEPTA Broad Street line home.

"Two seconds later, somebody screamed, 'Does anyone know CPR?' and I went, 'Oh, that's not good,'" she said.

67-year-old Ritchie Gladstone was with his son John and daughter-in-law Sabina on the same train car on their way to their hotel when he suffered a massive heart attack and collapsed.

"All I remember is shouting for the train to stop and this woman just absolutely took control of everything," said Sabina Gladstone.

"He was grayish, pale, his lips were already blue," said Edith.

Haage knew she had to act quickly and pointed to four other passengers to lower him to the floor so she could perform CPR.

"It was kind of the worst case scenario to try to do CPR in an unstable environment, in a moving train," she said. "I was just literally praying to God to tell me what to do next."

After a while, Gladstone began to breathe again. Paramedics arrived shortly after and took over, and Haage went home wondering if Gladstone made it.

"And not knowing if he was okay and praying for him and praying for his family," she said.

Doctors at Jefferson believe those first few minutes of CPR may have saved Gladstone's life. His family agrees.

"She took control, got him on the floor, cleared his airways, started CPR, I mean she saved his life," said Sabina Gladstone.

The Gladstones sent out a plea to learn the identity of the Good Samaritan, hoping to thank her face-to-face.

Haage did not know about our story until relatives told her about it. A replay of the story aired on Action News brought an emotional response.

"I would give her a big hug anyway," said Ritchie Gladstone. "I feel amazing; amazingly lucky."

Ritchie Gladstone spent the last week at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital recovering from quadruple bypass surgery.

"I just few like God worked out the details for me to be where I needed to be so that they had an extraordinary Christmas. They got an extraordinary Christmas gift from heaven, and I just happen to be the one that was there," said Edith.

A huge American football fan, Gladstone is on a mission to visit all 31 NFL stadiums.

Last week, the dairy farmer, his son, and daughter-in-law traveled to Buffalo, New England, and then to Philadelphia to watch the Eagles play the Bengals.

The Gladstones were already on their way back to England when Haage came forward, but they are hoping for a phone chat with them through Skype soon.

"Without her this would have a completely different ending," said John Gladstone.

The Gladstones also credit the first responders, medics from the fire station at Broad and Ellsworth who got there in seconds with a defibrillator.

Gladstone's prognosis is good, and he is determined to get better. He still has 6 more NFL stadiums to visit.

Haage is hoping that this story will encourage others to learn CPR and perhaps help save someone's life.

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