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"I would be dead if they didn't take action": North Port woman credits Walmart employees for saving her life

A customer's heart stopped in Walmart. She was resuscitated in the store.
North Port Walmart employees save customer
Posted at 10:17 PM, Apr 30, 2024

NORTH PORT, Fla. — North Port resident Mary DiSanzo just celebrated her 79th birthday. However, she told North Port Community Correspondent Victoria Scott it almost didn't happen.

"I had a birthday the other day, and I wouldn't have had that birthday if it weren't for these people" she said.

DiSanzo had just finished dinner with her husband and stopped at Walmart to pick up a few things on April 10.

Her trip took a turn when she collapsed by the self-checkout line.

"All I remember is black," DiSanzo said.

Her heart arrhythmia caused her heart to stop.

"If they hadn't taken action immediately, I would be dead," DiSanzo told Scott.

Walmart cashier Suzan Martucci was one of the employees who helped bring DiSanzo back to life.

"I ran and got a carpet and put it underneath her head because I know to put it underneath there," Martucci said. "She was not breathing, so I started CPR immediately."

Martucci told Scott she relied on CPR training she got 25 years ago.

"The adrenaline was going and I just had to do something," she said. "I mean, [DiSanzo] fell. She was turning blue, so next thing I know I was doing CPR, chest compressions on her."

North Port Fire Rescue first responders said knowing hands-only CPR is crucial. That's why EMS is urging people to learn it.

"The actual state [resuscitation rate] average is 20% and the national average is 25%," said Brian Gorski, Division Chief of EMS for North Port Fire Rescue. "Down here in North Port, we've been between 45% and even as high as 49% - an extremely high resuscitation rate. In order to get numbers like this, it also requires the public."

DiSanzo thanks everyone who saved her that day. She said she's learning to live every day to the fullest.

"Nobody came to welcome me," she said. "I guess it wasn't my time, so that was good. I thought I'd stick around a while longer."