When Daniel Catey woke up on the morning of June 21, he knew something was wrong.

Catey, 59, a Center Grove area resident, felt achy and flu-like — bad enough to take the day off work.

He ate a little breakfast, took some aspirin and laid down to rest, but he thinks he passed out. After he woke up, he realized his symptoms weren’t just from a seasonal virus. He needed help, and fast.

He didn’t think he’d make it to Community Hospital South, so he drove to the nearest place for help: Bargersville Fire Station 201 on State Road 135.

Story continues below gallery

What happened next is a blur to Catey. He was in and out of consciousness. At one point, he went into full cardiac arrest, while emergency workers fought to save his life.

On Monday, Catey and his fiancee Yvonne Edwards visited the fire station to thank the men and women who saved his life in person. A month and a half later, Catey’s his outlook on life has changed — he has stopped smoking, works out more and watches what he eats.

And with his lifestyle changes have come a new appreciation for the fire department.

“I complain about the tax bill every year,” he said. “Not anymore.”

Catey wanted to give the department a donation to thank them for their exceptional care, but Bargersville Fire Chief Jason Ramey insisted that wasn’t necessary. They were just doing their jobs.

“This is why we’re here,” Ramey said.

The firefighters and EMTs on duty that day, including paramedic Bethany Christy, firefighter/EMTs Jason Smith, Anthony Ankney, Cole McKnight, Jeremy Abraham, Michael Ridge and Joe Shields, got what they call the “save” of their careers. They were able to revive someone from biological death, or in other words, a patient who has no pulse and no heartbeat.

When Catey first came in, he was experiencing obvious distress with chest pain, and the EMTs immediately ran an EKG test that showed he was having a heart attack.

McKnight remembered that Catey was talking and was coherent as they took him to Community Hospital South on County Line Road.

Suddenly, as the ambulance approached the hospital, Catey was gone. His pulse and heartbeat disappeared.

When a patient “codes,” it’s often a worst-case scenario that EMTs and paramedics dread, Ramey said.

Christy was worried as she and McKnight were doing CPR. Fewer than 1 percent of patients recover from cardiac arrest

They continued working on him with a combination of CPR, ventilation and with an automatic external defibrillator for about 45 minutes at the hospital before his heartbeat was stable enough to go to the cath lab, where Catey would have two stents put into his heart.

He had a blood vessel that was 85 percent blocked and another that was 99 percent blocked. Doctors put him into an induced coma for the next three or four days.

The EMTs were glad to meet up with Catey again on Monday and see how well he was doing. They also insisted they deserved no special thanks or recognition for their work.

They said helping people is their job, and their goal is to help the community and the people who live there.

“It affirms what brought us into this job in the first place,” Smith said.

Anna Herkamp is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at aherkamp@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2712.