Heart patient says he owes his life to two bystanders in car dealership

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COLUMBIA - After finishing work on Feb. 23, Michael Morrow, a mechanic at BMW of Columbia, was getting ready to buy a car at the dealership. 

After signing the papers, shortly after 4 p.m., Morrow collapsed on the floor.

"The only thing I can even remember remotely is walking out of one of the offices I talked to about buying a vehicle," he said. "I don't remember that day, or the days before, or the week before that really, to be honest with you."

Michael Pyle and his wife were at the dealership looking for a van for their family. They had just gotten back from a test drive. Pyle excused himself to use the restroom and, when he was done, it happened.

"Mike, the employee of BMW, just collapsed and landed on the guy that he was talking to," Pyle said.

At that moment, Pyle said, he didn't hesitate to start performing CPR. 

"If you don't step up and you're just a bystander, and you sit back and you don't do anything, it's going to affect you endurably, I'm telling you," he said.

Pyle said he couldn't leave it to someone else to help.

"If you don't jump in to act right away, that person that could be using, that could be needing your help doesn't get your help," he said.

While Pyle performed chest compressions, Curtis Jahr, a client advisor at the dealership, provided mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to Morrow.

"I saw Mike stumble into the I8 and bump into another sales associate, Bob," he said. "I ran over to try to catch him before he hit the ground and then he started going to seizure-type of actions." 

Jahr said he was just trying to do something to help his coworker. 

"My mom had seizures a lot when I was younger, so I know first thing is to make sure that they don't swallow their tongue if they're going into a seizure," he said. "I was making sure of that, but then he kind of turned over and was convulsing a little bit and clinching, so I was just trying to comfort more than anything."

Pyle said he and Jahr fell into a rhythm.

"We worked together just instantly, like we knew each other forever," he said.

Pyle said he first learned how to perform CPR was when he was about 15 years old and worked as a lifeguard in Texas.

"When I was a correctional officer, that's when I actually was actually able to use CPR on certain individuals that needed it," Pyle said. "I definitely wasn't expecting it when I learned it. At first, I'd never use this, I'd never be in a situation when this happen. As I say that, things just snapped off at the job that I was at. A couple of years ago, I was in California and the same situation happened, just not as extreme."

Dr. Amir Batman with Boone Hospital said CPR improves survival in cases of heart failure. 

"Patients who suffer sudden cardiac arrest and who receive chest compressions, what we called a 'witnessed arrest,' their survival is double and sometimes triple what it'd have been otherwise," he said.

Morrow was recovering at Boone Hospital and is expected to be released by the end of the week. 

He said he is looking forward to going back to work. 

"I enjoy working on cars, that's one of the only things I've ever done in my life that I really enjoy because it feels like an accomplishment," Morrow said. "It feels like I get something done when I diagnose what's wrong with a car, get the parts, fix it and it fixes the car. Start it up, get it out of the door and run to the next vehicle."

Despite what he went through, Morrow is going through the recovery process with a smile on his face. 

"I love my wife, I love my kids, I love my family and friends, everything like that," he said. "I'm a happy person all the way around, no matter what."

Morrow said words can't describe how grateful he is for Jahr and Pyle. 

"If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here today, in the first place," he said. "I owe my life to both of them, no matter what. In every aspect of life, they will always be a part of me, no matter what. I owe them everything."

Jahr said he thinks God has a plan for Morrow.

"I mean a lot of people, you know, go through something like that and they don't live to talk about it. I think, what he went through, I think if anyone, I mean that he's got a plan and a purpose and I'm happy for him and his family," he said.

Pyle offered these thoughts to the man he helped save:

"In the future, things are just going to be even better because we have a connection now that nobody else can unbear," he told Morrow. "You're a great guy, that's all I hear about you, and your family loves you so much, and I'm just glad that you're able to see them everyday now."