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With heartfelt gratitude: Grafton man thanks rescuers after near-fatal heart attack

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    Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Timmothy Hoffman (RIGHT) stands with Jerry Fowle, of Grafton, who he helped save after Fowle had a heartattack while jogging.


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    Beverly Fowle, of Grafton and wife of Jerry Fowle, shakes the hand of registered nurse Mary Gilcharist who helped take care of her husband Jerry after he had a heart attack while jogging.


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    Jerry Fowle, of Grafton, who suffered a heart attack while jogging, is hugged by members of the University Hospitals, Elyria Campus, care team that helped to save his life.



ELYRIA — Several individuals were honored Wednesday morning for their part in saving the life of a Grafton Township man at University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center’s Gates auditorium.

On July 3, Jerry Fowle, of Grafton Township, had a severe heart attack. Thanks to some good Samaritans and the Ohio Highway Patrol, he survived.

“I was on a 4-mile course, but after 3 miles I remember not feeling too good,” Fowler said.

“The next thing I know, I woke up in the hospital nearly a week later.”

Michelle Dostall, of Grafton, remembers that day from a different perspective. Dostall, a nursing student at Tri-C West Shore, was at school that day. She said she went to her first class but was feeling off and decided to skip her next class.

“I don’t remember if I wasn’t feeling well or if it was a nice day or whatever, I just decided to go home.”

Dostall received a call from her fianc←, Paul Signorelli, who said he was coming home early from work.

“He never takes off of work,” said Dostall. “He can’t remember why he did, either.”

As a pot of coffee was brewing, Dostall said her fiancé pulled in the driveway and started yelling “Man down!” They got in the truck and drove down the street to where they saw a man lying motionless.

“I panicked a little but I saw a group of people on their cell phones and no one was helping this man,” she said.

Dostall and Signorelli started CPR until more help arrived.

Ohio Highway Patrol Sgt. Tim Hoffman was in the vicinity when he heard an ambulance dispatched to a man in the road, and headed that way.

“I saw Michelle and Paul performing CPR,” Hoffman said. “I grabbed the AED (automatic external defibrillator) hooked it up to him (Fowle), the machine analyzed then shocked him — we got a pulse but he was still unresponsive.”

By then, the Grafton EMS was on the scene to take over. Fowle was transported to University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center. Fowle had no identification with him and was listed as a John Doe for hours before he was identified. The State Highway Patrol sent a news release describing the man.

“We were trying to figure out who this man was,” said Lt. Carlos Smith, commander for the Ohio Highway Patrol Elyria Post.

“He had bright green running shoes with a hole in it — you know a wife knows if her husband has holey shoes.”

Beverly Fowle knew something was wrong when she came home from work.

“One cat was in the garage, the other was outside and they aren’t outdoor cats,” she said.

Beverly said she started to worry and called Grafton EMS. The dispatcher directed her to call Lt. Smith.

“The troopers came out and showed me pictures of his clothes to identify him — green running shoes with a hole in them — and his picture,” she said.

Once at the hospital, Beverly Fowle said she remained calm and positive.

“Everybody was great, but when I was told something not hopeful — I just said, ‘Stop, I don’t accept that.’”

Beverly Fowle had taken classes on healing touch therapy when she worked at the Cleveland Clinic years ago. She said she worked on her husband.

“I remember his neurologist said, ‘Did he respond to you?’ I didn’t know or if it was reflex. He said, ‘Whatever you’re doing, keep doing that voodoo that you do’ and when we saw him after we went to another floor, the doctor said it again. What was great is no one in the hospital laughed at that or told me to stop. Because it’s not just the medicine but it’s the healing,” said Beverly.

One of Fowle’s nurses from the cardiac catheter lab, Ryan Woodin, said chances that a person recovers from a heart attack like this is rare.

“He’s super lucky, like a miracle. Sometimes they don’t make it, so this is awesome,” said Woodin.

Fowle said he is very grateful to everyone who has helped him. He also said he keeps in touch with Dostall and Signorelli.

“As it turns out, we are all horse people, so we made new friends.”

Contact Cindy Breda at 329-7126 or

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