SANTA YNEZ, Calif. – Last Wednesday, Aug. 24, is a day Gino Filippin will never forget.
“I came home, I wasn’t feeling well,” said Filippin. “I went out to the backyard to get a breath of fresh air and I started feeling very noxious and for some reason I knew I was going to black out.”
The 61-year-old Santa Ynez resident suffered a life-threatening heart attack, one his doctors later said gave him only an 8 percent chance of surviving.
“I kind of, sort of think I was dead,” said Filippin. “There wasn’t a sense of near death, but clinically and medically, I was.”
Filippin’s 25-year-old soon found him lying face down in the backyard and immediately called to his mother, Filippin’s wife Janine, who was inside the home.
Janine quickly called 911 and then ran outside to perform CPR. As good fortune would have it, the YMCA instructor had just completed a CPR refresher course just two weeks earlier.
“No reason to go get re-certified, I’m not due until November,” said Janine Filippin. “I thought, oh, I’ll go take the refresher course. I thought I’d go if there was room, and there was room. I took a two-and-half hour refresher course and the whole time thinking, I hope I never have to use this because I’m not going to remember a thing because the rules are always changing. I thought this will be nice, check it off my list not ever knowing that I was going to need it”
Janine performed CPR on her husband for what she feels was about 10 minutes until deputies with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department arrived.
“As soon as I saw that he was down it was if my instructors went through my head because it was certainly not mine doing, it was like I heard every word she had to say and it all made sense and it all came into place,” said Janine Filippin.
Soon, other emergency responders arrived on the scene to provide life-saving resuscitation.
“We got the fire department here, we got the neighbors here, we got the sheriff’s here, we got the paramedics here working on me for quite a while to get me revived and they finally did after about half an hour,” said Gino Filippin.
Filippin was then rushed to Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, where he was treated. Incredibly, he was released just 48 hours later.
Now, a week later after his brush with death, he is thanking those who came to his aid and saved his life.
“You look back at an incident like that and start to see how connected the dots were put together and there’s so many people that weren’t as blessed as I was that day to have all the right people, in the right time, in the right sequence and they saved me,” said Gino Filippin.
Filippin is particularly grateful to the two Sheriff deputies, Senior Deputy James Kurowski and Deputy Bradley Adams, who first arrived on scene. Filippin was able to meet with the deputies and thank them personally at the Solvang sub-station on Tuesday.
“I’m thankful to everyone involved,” said Gino Filippin. “The Sheriff’s were the first guys here, and they have a tough job, and I can’t say enough about the two deputies that were here.”
Through their life saving efforts, the entire Filippin family now has a new outlook on life.
“I’m tremendously relieved and thankful that there’s another chance to be kinder to him, be a better wife and the things that you don’t think about,” said Janine Filippin.
Filippin says his long term prognosis is positive. He added he now has a stent in his heart and with a few lifestyle and diet alterations, he should make a full recovery.
“My spirits are good, thank God,” said Gino Filippin. “The doctors tell me that I’m physically going to be fine and I’ve got many years left ahead of me.”