East Tennessee podiatrist breaks ribs to save life

LENOIR CITY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A regular day turned into a life and death scenario at Dr. David Hawk's Tennessee Foot and Ankle clinic Wednesday.

Hawk said an elderly man came in for a simple toe nail trimming. He said just as the patient took a seat, a nurse noticed that the man had passed out. Hawk said he immediately noticed the man had no pulse and was not breathing.

"I was calling his name out yelling 'Come on, come on!' and hoping he would come back to us. I thought maybe he was having just low blood sugar or something, then his eyes rolled in the back of his head. He stopped breathing, no pulse, that's when I hopped on the chair and started the chest compressions," said Hawk.

Hawk said he performed chest compressions for 15 minutes until paramedics arrived at his Sevierville office.

The man was revived once he arrived at a nearby hospital. Paramedics then returned to Hawk's office.

"He said, 'I've never seen someone survive with this particular EKG,' and the cardiologist told him the same thing, apparently he had a blood clot and the chest compressions forced it through and that's what apparently saved him," said Hawk.

Hawk said he was just in the right place at the right time, but wants others to learn CPR and not be afraid to perform it.

"It just wasn't his time to go and I was in the right place at the right time and I'm so happy for his family," said Hawk.

Dr. Hawk said he hoped to meet the man he saved once the man is released from the hospital.