MEDFORD — Not a day goes by in which Greg Johnson doesn't think of the name John Bowling.
It's understandable, seeing as how Johnson would not be here if not for a chance encounter between the two this summer.
Johnson was out for his regular bike ride when he suddenly felt dizzy and lost consciousness. A 70 percent blockage in a main artery to his heart had caused him to dive into cardiac arrest.
The Medford resident and his bike hit the ground and he soon found himself surrounded by a crowd of people, none of them knowing what to do.
Fortunately, Dr. John Bowling was on his way home to Jacksonville when he noticed the commotion.
“I didn't know if what I was going to do would work, but I felt I had to do something,” Bowling said.
He jumped from his car and began aggressive CPR on Johnson's lifeless body.
“He wasn't breathing and didn't have a pulse,” Bowling said. “My first thought was, what if I do it wrong?”
Bowling, a doctor of psychology and a professor at Southern Oregon University, continued chest compressions for several minutes until a pulse and oxygen returned to Johnson's body.
Johnson was rushed to the hospital and underwent life-saving surgery and is on his way to a full recovery.
“I'd say I'm about 80 percent back,” Johnson said. “But if it wasn't for John Bowling, I wouldn't be here.”
Cheryl Johnson, his wife, doesn't dwell on what could have happened had Bowling not sprung to action that day.
“We focus on the fact that he's here with us now,” she said.
The couple have two children. They also have made Bowling an honorary member of their family.
“I wouldn't go so far as to call us friends, but we've kept in touch,” Johnson said. “I think about the name John Bowling every day.”
The Johnsons hope to spend some time with Bowling and his family later this year.
For his efforts that day, Bowling was given a lifesaving award Thursday at the Southern Oregon Safety and Health Conference held at Central Medford School.
Sen. Alan Bates, who is himself a medical doctor, praised Bowling's willingness to act quickly in a chaotic situation.
The key to successful CPR, Bates said, is jumping in and getting busy with chest compressions early. Don't be afraid that you're not performing them perfectly, the goal is to get blood moving through the body anyway possible.
“Don't be afraid to get in there and do it,” Bates said. “Many people freeze because they might not feel they can do it correctly.”
Bowling learned CPR as part of his ski patrol training on Mount Ashland. As part of the award, he received an automated external defibrillator (AED), which performs compressions in case of a heart attack. He will donate the AED to Mount Ashland.
Meanwhile, three city of Medford workers were awarded lifesaving awards for their work performing CPR on a man who suffered cardiac arrest on Laurel Street earlier this year.
Lani Sang, Nate Warner and Ryan Clark were at work on Laurel Street when they heard a cry for help from a nearby home. They quickly rushed to the house, where they found a mother unable to open the front door because her adult son had collapsed in front. They began CPR before paramedics arrived. The man later died, but their efforts in trying to revive him were honored regardless.
“I want to praise these people for stepping up,” Bates said.