She’s lucky to be at her Village Garden apartment — and to be alive.
Known to all the regulars at Barista’s coffee shop on West 10th Street simply as Dorothy, she always exchanges greetings with fellow coffee-sippers and often engages in conversations.
It was Monday morning that the 83-year-old pushed her ever-present walker out the front door of Barista’s and then collapsed on the sidewalk and lost consciousness.
Fortunately for Dorothy, among those (including me) who rushed outside to see what the problem was as she lay on her back was Ken McCarthy, who operates nearby Spencer Floor Coverings — and is a captain with the San Jose Fire Department.
As Ken, an experienced paramedic, kneeled down beside Dorothy, he noticed that her breathing became labored and then stopped. He checked her pulse — there was none.
Without hesitating, Ken applied CPR with rapid chest compressions on the prostrate woman.
“I gave her 30 compressions, and then she started breathing again,” Ken said later. “I was relieved she was breathing again, although I might have broken a couple of ribs in the process.”
A few minutes later, the Tracy Fire Department arrived, followed by an ambulance. After stabilizing Dorothy, they took her to the hospital.
Dorothy suffers from Addison’s disease, a condition of the adrenal glands — “And I don’t have Alzheimer’s,” she emphatically told the medics.
Ken went to the hospital Monday to see how she was getting along, but she was still in the emergency room at that time.
Josie Schneider, a longtime friend from their days of growing up on nearby dairies in the Manteca area, visited her later. She said Dorothy was alert in the hospital and was happy to go home Thursday. In the hospital, she had received several other visitors and a get-well card passed around Barista’s by Ford and Lisa Borncamp.
Yes, she had a couple of broken ribs, but she knew the circumstances and was thankful for Ken’s quick action to restore her breathing. And she learned she did not strike her head on the sidewalk when she fell.
Dorothy reiterated to Josie her determination to get back to Barista’s as soon as possible. And the folks there expect to see back any day now.
In the meantime, we are all aware of what a close call Dorothy had. And we are all thankful that Ken McCarthy, an unassuming hero, was in Barista’s sipping coffee with friends Monday morning — the right person at the right time to save Dorothy’s life.
n Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.