He is sportive and perfectly healthy. He doesn’t smoke, drinks in moderation and he has a good weight. Never the 47-year-old Coen Mol had health issues. Nevertheless, he suffered a cardiac arrest on Budget Day last year. When his 14-year-old daughter Lotte found him, he was already dying. “Thanks to decisive action and resuscitation by my two neighbors Saskia and Marjan I’m still alive,” says Coen. “Really, it can happen to anyone.”
It was September 17, 2013. Coen came back from his work and he didn’t feel so good and went to bed to lie down. Moments later, Lotte heard that her father made weird noises. Lotte immediately called her mother. She first called 112 and then neighbor Saskia van Niekerk, who came immediately. 112 sent an alert notification via the HeartsafeLiving network. Marjan van de Ende responded to this message and came to the accident. This all took place within two minutes.
The additional help was more than welcome to Saskia, because Coen was in a place where resuscitation was impossible. Along with Marjan they managed to move her neighbor in mortal peril to a place where resuscitation was possible.
Before there was an AED on the spot, the ambulance arrived already within six minutes. With the help of the fire department and police Coen Mol was – still with a very weak pulse – removed from the house with an aerial platform. This was because Coen had a LUCAS attached, a device for automatic compressions. Therefore Coen had to be transported upright and this was only possible through the window on the first floor.
Despite the quick and decisive intervention by Marjan and Saskia and also fast arrival of the ambulance with defibrillator, it became clear in the Haga Hospital in The Hague that Coen’s condition was critical. He was cooled to thirty degrees Celsius to keep its brain function intact as well as possible. After two days he was brought back to consciousness.
“The first week I found it very hard”, says Saskia. “Obviously I knew Coen very good. Especially the uncertainty about possible permanent damage was agonizing. The moment I heard that he had opened his eyes again, there was a weight off my shoulders.”
Saskia doesn’t feel like a hero: “You don’t constantly realize that you’ve saved a life. I now know myself that I didn’t slam, but can take action in such a situation. That’s a good feeling. Right after this incident I refreshed my outdated CPR training and became a volunteer at HeartsafeLiving.”
Coen’s cardiac arrest was mentally from a much greater impact on his wife and daughter, then himself. “I don’t remember anything at all,” says Coen. “All I know from the cardiac arrest – and even from the days before – I’ve heard from saying.” A few weeks after the cardiac arrest, he went back to work on a therapeutic basis. And after a few months he cycled again and he played volleyball again, just recreational. “I do notice that I’m still tired quickly.” he says.
Partly in response to this incident neighborhood association Druivenblok – both victim and rescuers live here – provide a CPR course. 52 people participated in this course and a lot people signed up as volunteer at HeartsafeLiving. Among the new volunteers was Coen’s twin brother Jeroen. Coen and Marga, his wife, want to become a volunteer as well in the future. But that will take a while: “Right now it’s too early.”