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First responders say roommates' quick action saved 20-year-old who went into cardiac arrest

Logan Arnold and Ian Fenn
Posted at 10:34 PM, Oct 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-10 01:26:07-04

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — First responders say quick action by two roommates saved the life of a 20-year-old who went into cardiac arrest.

It all started on August 15 in the kitchen of Hayden McWhorter’s Broomfield apartment while he was washing dishes. His two roommates, Logan Arnold and Ian Fenn, were also home at the time.

“I’m kind of a pain in the butt about them keeping their stuff clean,” McWhorter said.

“He’s definitely the tidy one,” Arnold said.

It was a routine day for the trio, until McWhorter started feeling ill.

“He told us his chest was hurting,” Arnold said. “So, he went into Ian’s room and he just kind of laid there and told us his chest felt weird.”

“I just kind of started asking him questions about what the feeling was, what he could compare it to,” Fenn said.

“And then he comes back out here and starts doing the dishes,” Arnold said.

That's when things took a turn.

"I started making some food, and then I felt Hayden kind of bump into me as I was standing behind him. And I was like, ‘Hayden?’” Fenn said. “And he didn’t say anything and got super stiff and I saw his eyes roll in the back of his head. And he just started going down, and I was able to catch him for the most part on his way going down.”

Hayden McWhorter

Fenn and Arnold knew what to do next.

“Logan came out of his room because he heard a thump as Hayden hit the ground. I told Hayden he had about 30 seconds to respond to me before I called 911. And when he didn’t respond, I made the call,” Fenn said.

At about that time, Arnold started CPR.

“Thankfully, Logan knew how to. So he started doing that until paramedics got here,” Fenn said.

“There were no signs of breathing, and so we just got to it,” Arnold said. “I work in a sports camp for children, so I had to get [CPR] certified for that. I never thought I’d use it, let alone on one of my best friends.”

It was lifesaving until medics could take over.

“Very, very, very traumatic,” Fenn said.

Hayden McWhorter

“It’s almost hard to believe and understand that it happened,” McWhorter said. “I don’t think the magnitude of the situation has hit me yet.”

Doctors said McWhorter likely died for 23 minutes before being revived.

“That is pretty rare to see a 20-year-old suffering cardiac arrest, especially one who is as healthy as he is,” said Chris Hullett, one of the EMTs who was first on the scene.

McWhorter and his roommates were reunited with the first responders Monday.

“Very few people survive after that long,” Hullett said. “We found him laying behind the breakfast bar in the kitchen with a lack of pulse, not breathing. And his heart was not beating right or at all.”

How it happened is still a mystery. McWhorter went hiking two days before and was dehydrated. He also vapes, which may have been a contributing factor. But doctors at Saint Joseph Hospital aren’t entirely clear as to what happened.

“Combination of caffeine, dehydration, not eating a whole lot, not eating the right stuff,” McWhorter said. “But no clogged arteries, no weird, random heart conditions — other than it stopped.”

For now, McWhorter's training to become a commercial airline pilot is temporarily grounded until they have more information about his heart.

“There’s definitely a chance that I can get back up there,” McWhorter said. “Now I have a defibrillator/pacemaker... so anything abnormal, it’ll shock it.”

Logan Arnold and Ian Fenn

McWhorter, his family and his friends are just thankful he’s still here.

“He’s here,” Fenn said. “Healthier than ever.”

“It was a good feeling,” Arnold said.

“I thanked (Logan) for getting that job, taking care of little kids which saved my life,” McWhorter said.

Officials made sure McWhorter's roommates were properly rewarded for their heroic actions. The two were honored with civilian lifesaver awards.

“I think a lot more, especially young people, should know CPR for circumstances like this,” Hullett said. “They really affected the outcome of their friend in a positive way.”

“There isn’t anything I can do to repay them for what they did,” McWhorter said.

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