‘Beyond a hero’: Teen saves life with CPR

Published 12:03 am Friday, June 5, 2015

By Susan Shinn

For The Salisbury Post

MOUNT ULLA — The folks at Patterson Farm’s Market are calling Sara Bradley a hero. The teen just says she was in the right place at the right time.

Last Wednesday, May 24, Carl Livengood was shopping at the market with daughter Carla Martin. Both live in Mooresville. Livengood had come to pick up some strawberries and tomatoes. In a few minutes, Martin noticed the bathroom door swinging open. Her father had collapsed inside.

That’s when Bradley, 19, took control.

“I was in the ice cream shop,” Bradley said. “Michelle and I were packing CSA boxes. We heard someone yell ‘Help! Call 911!”

Michelle Patterson, whose family owns the farm, immediately reached for her cellphone.

“We came out of the shop and I saw a man and his daughter,” Bradley said. “He was unconscious. I saw he was white and he didn’t look like he was breathing. I ran to the back to get a jacket to put under his head. I got down beside him. I felt for a pulse on his neck, and I felt his wrist, then I felt his neck again. There was no pulse at any time. I knew it was my cue to start CPR.”

In January, Bradley became certified in CPR as a requirement for dental hygiene training.

“I started CPR,” she said. “Ten rounds in, I heard him gasp for breath. It was a good sign. I knew it was more. I did five more rounds, and got a slight pulse. I kept doing CPR until the EMS personnel got here.”

Patterson made the call at 3:58 p.m. The crew arrived at 4:09 p.m.

“By the time they got here, his pulse was pretty strong,” Bradley said. “He had a good oxygen level and good blood pressure. From that point, the EMS crew took over. We stayed and made sure he was OK.

“After they loaded him up, his daughter came over and hugged me, and thanked me for saving his life. It was a great feeling. I was at the right place at the right time, and I was able to help. CPR is a great thing to know how to do. I have worked as a nurse’s aide, and just from my clinical experience, I realized it would be a good thing to know.”

Bradley is a 2013 graduate of South Rowan High School, and has been a seasonal employee at the market for the past four years. She’ll start classes in August at Forsyth Technical College. Her parents are Ken and Vanessa Bradley of Salisbury. Bradley sent a quick text to her mom to let her know what had happened, and her parents immediately went to the market.

“I was pumping gas,” her mom said. “I read the text and started crying. People around me probably wondered what was so heartbreaking about pumping gas. I’m one proud mama.”

“It’s one thing for people to know CPR,” Patterson said, “but it’s another thing to step up and do it. I was certified when I was a lifeguard, and I am definitely going to become certified again. Every second counts. Sara stepped up and jumped in and took control. She definitely is a hero.”

Bradley is also a hero to Livengood’s family. Sadly, Livengood, 76, died Tuesday. He was married for 51 years to Shirley Hunsucker Livengood. He had been fighting stage 4 cancer for a year and a half, his son Mark said Thursday.

“She saved his life for a couple of days,” he said of Bradley. “My family is very thankful for what she did. She is above and beyond a hero. We do appreciate everything. Without her, we couldn’t have closure. She did such a great service for our family. She even called the hospital to check on Dad. I would like to meet the woman who saved his life, for a little while. I’ll be eternally grateful to her.”

Carl Livengood’s memorial service is Saturday afternoon. After Bradley finishes work at the market, she plans to attend.


Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.