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After Near-Death Experience, Maryland Man Thanks Woman Who Saved His Life

Michael Liu (at podium) turned 32 today. He might not have, if it hadn't been for Heather Von Kurtz and her daughter Alexandra (shown at left).
Matt Bush/WAMU
Michael Liu (at podium) turned 32 today. He might not have, if it hadn't been for Heather Von Kurtz and her daughter Alexandra (shown at left).

Montgomery County's Michael Liu turned 32 today, but he wasn't the one doling out gifts.

Liu almost didn't see his birthday this year. In May while jogging, Liu collapsed and went into cardiac arrest in a park in Rockville. A passerby, Heather Von Kurtz, performed CPR until paramedics arrived. Liu had stopped breathing for about 10 minutes, and then spent 10 days in a coma. But he has recovered, and his birthday present today was meeting Von Kurtz for the first time.

Liu gave Von Kurtz and her 9-year-old daughter Alexandra—who flagged down the ambulance as her mother did CPR—a letter thanking them that he framed. "While I was in a coma and the outcome was far from certain, my wife Mary was most sad that our 2-year-old son, Nathan, might never have memories of 'Baba.' And our yet-to-be-born daughter might never meet her father. Thank you for giving me a second lease on life and family."

Von Kurtz performed "hands-only" CPR on Liu. Montgomery County Fire and Rescue officials say that technique, which is becoming the preferred method to be taught to non-paramedics and public safety officers, takes only 15 minutes to learn.

WAMU 88.5

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WAMU 88.5

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