A doctor had a heart attack while on a run and another doctor nearby saved him and now they’re marathon partners. At this year’s New York City Marathon, two physicians ran the race together after meeting under unusual circumstances. In 2019, Dr. John Harvey was running in Central Park when he went into cardiac arrest and collapsed. Fortunately, Dr. Sauni Perera happened to be running by at that moment and jumped in to help a police officer perform CPR, saving Harvey’s life.
While Perera was performing CPR, another officer brought her a portable defibrillator, which they used to restart Harvey’s heart. Almost immediately, he came to. "He literally tried to get up and start running again," Perera recalls. "We had to tell him not to." Harvey was taken to the hospital where it was discovered that he had a congenital heart condition and he underwent open heart surgery.
A few days after the incident, Harvey reached out to Perera to thank her for saving him. She says their connection was as special to her as it was to him. “An event like this bonds you for life,” she says. The experience that first brought the two doctors together has grown into a strong friendship and yesterday at the New York City Marathon, they ran together, both running to raise money for medical causes they care about. And Harvey ran a little easier knowing that his hero was by his side. "If anything should happen, I’m sure that Sauni will save me again," he joked.