Survivor gives thanks to rescuers that kept his heart ticking

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Dennis Marquardt doesn't remember much about the night he suffered a massive heart attack. But now that he's feeling better, it was important to Dennis to meet the firefighters and paramedics who helped save him.

“The only thing I can say is that if it had not been for them, I wouldn't be standing here talking to you today. I was basically dead in my bed. So it's important for people to understand the importance of these folks,” he said.

Marquardt's wife, Peri, woke up last June to find her husband gasping and gray-skinned. She called 9-1-1 and dispatchers helped her perform CPR until rescue crews arrived. Paramedics shocked Dennis three times to get his heart into a normal rhythm.

“They were so wonderful with what you do, it was just wonderful. The first responders don't get the credit they deserve. You see what happens, you get them to the hospital and you are off to the next case,” said Peri.

When Dennis arrived at the Overland Park Regional Medical Center he had open heart surgery. Doctors performed six bypasses on his heart. But the hospital says none of that may have happened if it weren't for the quick actions of emergency medical service responders.

“It is a thankless job it is a job paramedics, EMTs and firefighters they just go out there and do it because it's a career for them. They are passionate about helping others,” said EMS relations director Tina York.

For the Overland Park Fire Department, and Johnson County Med-Act, their actions are all part of a day's duties. But for those whose lives they've touched and saved, they say they'll never be able to express their gratitude enough.

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