Cox says he’s alive thanks to small town angels

July 18, 2012

Diana and Richard Cox in front of their store in downtown Scottville

Story & Photo by Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

SCOTTVILLE – “I could be a widow sitting here in this store right now,” Diana Cox said, sitting in her office at Cox’s Sales & Services in downtown Scottville. “I could be if it wasn’t for some guardian angels.”

Diana is referring to Wednesday, May 23, the day her husband, Richard, collapsed on the sidewalk in front of their store, a result of cardiac arrest. The guardian angels were their daughter-in-law Tracy Cox, who is a Scottville/Ludington police officer, and downtown barber and firefighter Tom Posma. They were the first two on the scene to start CPR. Tom was the person who instructed someone to get the defibrillator from the Scottville Senior Center, next door. The two also used the defibrillator on Richard, most likely the actions that saved his life.

Cardiac arrest is caused by the heart fibrillating out of control, not stopping as Hollywood would make us believe. When the heart is still fibrillating, it is necessary to defibrillate, using electric shocks. That action, if performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, can often stop the heart and let it reset itself. Performing CPR keeps blood moving through the body. Blood carries oxygen and oxygen is necessary for the brain to survive.

After five minutes without oxygen, a person is very likely to become brain dead.

But, on May 23, 2012, Richard Cox had angles.

“Words cannot even express how thankful I am to everyone who was there that day,” Richard told me today. “Tom and Tracy, the ambulance crew from Life EMS, Scottville Fire Department and Chief Dale Larr, the Aeromed flight crew and anyone else who was there. They are small town heroes.”

Diana said Richard was shocked 12 times. “They lost him in the ambulance and he came back,” she said.

He was flown by helicopter to Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids. “We were so impressed by the level of care there,” Diana said. “The ICU nurse stayed by his side throughout her 12 hour shift, never leaving his room.”

For several days Richard was in a medically induced coma, an effort to keep his body temperature below normal which helped keep his brain from suffering more damage.

“They say it happened about 3 in the afternoon and I don’t remember anything that happened that day before 10:30 a.m.,” Richard says. “My first memory afterward was waking up in the hospital room. I don’t remember the ICU at all.”

“God was looking out for us that day,” Diana says.

Richard has been in intense cardiac and physical therapy since then. He is now working half time at the store. His son, Ryan, and Diana are filling the gaps. Ryan is a teacher and coach at Ludington High School but grew up working in the store.

Diana says when the school year starts again the three will split up the duties of being at the store, along with their other employees.

“We just celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary,” Diana says. “We are so thankful God has given us that chance.”

Legally Speaking: Consent to search

Betten Baker Ford

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