Wilmington Gym Employee Saves Man’s Life

Ian Palmer used an AED after a man using a cardio machine collapsed

A typical Thursday morning at Planet Fitness in Wilmington took a scary turn when a man using a cardio machine suddenly collapsed.

Someone called 911 and an off-duty nurse helped tear off the man’s shirt as 21-year-old gym employee Ian Palmer went to work.

“I grabbed the AED, came running over. Once I saw he was actually on the ground, it’s when I knew it was for real” he said. “I started with compressions. I did two rounds with them so I did 30 compressions.”

However, when the chest compressions didn’t work they tried an AED to shock his heart.

“The other (chest pad) didn’t stick, because he was sweaty from working out, so someone actually grabbed a paper towel and wiped him off,” Palmer said.

Despite the shocks, the 60-year-old man was still unresponsive when first responders arrived and took over. He eventually regained consciousness in the ambulance and is in recovery.

Police said the quick thinking and quick actions of Ian and other bystanders likely helped save that man’s life.

“Definitely nervous” Palmer said. “You don’t know if he’s going to be OK, you want the best for him. It’s life and death. If you mess up, you could cost someone their life.”

Employees at the gym are trained every two years on CPR and how to use an AED. 

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