BALLWIN, Mo. – An ordinary shopping trip at Costco in Ballwin turned into a life-or-death situation when Catherine Huerta suddenly collapsed and her heart stopped.

“Her breaths kind of got further and further apart. She started to turn blue…by that time, Connor ran and got the AED and he came back with all of our equipment. We started jumping in there, doing CPR,” Evan Siers, Costco employee, said.

Three fast-acting Costco employees, including Siers, sprang into action by performing CPR and using an AED to save Huerta’s life. Remarkably, she took her first breath again just as West County EMS crews arrived.

“Life-saving measures continued on the route to Mercy Hospital,” West County EMS and Firefighter Capt. Kevin Smith said. “I am happy, so happy, to report Catherine has made a full recovery and is here with us tonight.”

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Family and friends gathered at the West County EMS and Fire headquarters to hold a ceremony Monday night to recognize the paramedics who responded and to award the Costco employees.

“I just thank God they were there, that I was where I was at when it happened,” Huerta said.

West County EMS workers emphasized the importance of knowing CPR and using AEDs.  

“A lot of people are worried about putting AED on somebody and possibly getting shocked or doing harm to the patient. As long as you are doing good and have been trained through a class, you are covered by the Good Samaritan Law,” Capt. Smith said.

West County EMS staff recommend that everyone be CPR and AED certified because you’ll never know when you will have to save a life.