MISSION VIEJO (CBSLA.com) — A van crash survivor was reunited Wednesday with the rescuers and the nurse who helped save his life last month.
Ervin Hall, 66, was driving home from work in San Clemente June 18 when his steering wheel froze up and caused him to smash into a light pole.
“It, evidently, caused my heart to quit beating because I slammed against the steering wheel, so that’s about all I know,” he said. “I don’t really remember anything until I woke up in the ICU.”
Two Marines, Cpls. Philip Chronis and Matthew Mistretta, along with Paul Atkins, an emergency room nurse at Mission Hospital, happened to be in the area when the accident happened.
“I was yelling, ‘Are you OK? Are you OK?’ There was no response. Blood started coming out of his mouth. I checked for a pulse. There was no pulse,” said Atkins.
Chronis said he thought Hall wouldn’t make it.
“But we kept trying,” he said.
Chronis and Mistretta, who both served in Afghanistan, helped pull Hall out of his van while Atkins performed CPR for 10 minutes.
The men’s quick thinking ended up saving Hall’s life.
After several days in a medically induced coma and extensive treatment, Hall has made almost a full recovery.
“We just acted on instinct. When someone’s hurt, you don’t just stand by and just let them stay hurt. You react,” said Mistretta.
“The military training and Paul’s medical training, I couldn’t ask for more. He’s got some little wings on his back there, I think,” said Hall.
“I feel blessed to be able to help you. It was awesome,” said Atkins.