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Larry Klos on the tennis court
Larry Klos on the tennis court
Patient Stories

A Friendly Tennis Game Gets Serious

Employee Helps Save a Life on the Court

Larry Klos, an Environmental Services project technician at Northwestern Medicine Cancer Center Warrenville regularly meets up with three friends at Naperville Park District’s Nike Sports Complex to play tennis. But one day, their regular meet-up was anything but routine.

“Just after we practiced for a couple of minutes, one of my friends sat down by the fence, as he usually does,” Klos says. “He had arrived earlier than the rest of us to sweep the water off the court, so he was taking a break. Normally, he would get back up and play for another two hours, but I looked over at him, and he was slumped over. I went over to him right away, and he was unresponsive.”

Klos knew that his friend had just recently had a stress test and nuclear test, and had worn a heart monitor for a month for the lightheadedness he experienced occasionally, but all of his tests had come back normal. Yet just that morning, his friend mentioned to Klos that he was sure he had a blockage.

While Klos called 911 for help, the other friends tried to get a response from their friend. “I stayed on the phone, telling the dispatcher what was happening,” says Klos.

In the meantime, their friend had stopped breathing and had no pulse. Klos told the dispatcher that his friend’s eyes had rolled back in his head, and his face was turning gray. The friends started CPR right away.

Three Naperville Park District employees standing nearby saw what was going on, and one of them ran to get an AED. Just as they got the AED hooked up, the Naperville Fire Department arrived. “After working on him for about 25 minutes, the paramedics were able to get a pulse,” says Klos.

“The paramedics and the physicians at the hospital said that if we had not been there, the outcome would have been different,” Klos says. “He ended up having triple bypass surgery.”

Klos says he will never forget that day. “It was a total team effort,” he says. “The Naperville Fire Department paramedics and fire engine crew were terrific, and just watching them being so calm as they worked made me feel even more assured that things would work out for the good.”

Klos says that his friend’s recovery has gone well, and he recently graduated from cardiac rehabilitation. He anticipates that he will play tennis again with the group.

Two months after the incident, the Naperville Fire Department hosted a survivors’ banquet, which celebrates survivors of sudden cardiac arrest. At the event, they presented Klos and the others involved in the rescue with a recognition plaque for their life-saving efforts.