skip to main content

Quick Action Saves Freehold Man While Exercising

By |2024-05-10T08:16:45-04:00July 12th, 2021|Categories: Cardiology, Health A-Z|Tags: , |

Bob Mackiel, 73, is no stranger to exercise. He typically swims, walks on a treadmill, and uses weight machines three times a week. Despite having a heart attack in 2016 and a pacemaker, Bob, of Freehold, was in good health. He was shopping for a new gym when his doctor recommended he try CentraState Fitness & Wellness Center.

In February 2020, Bob had just finished using the treadmill and moved to a weight machine when he collapsed due to sudden cardiac arrest. This unexpected loss of heart function could have been fatal if it weren’t for the quick action of the center’s staff and the subsequent care he received at CentraState Medical Center.

Jumping into Action

As exercise physiologists, certified personal trainers, and licensed athletic trainers, the CentraState Fitness & Wellness Center team knows how to recognize medical emergencies and administer appropriate care. So when one of the fitness trainers saw Bob slumped on the machine, she ran over and initiated the emergency action plan.

Fitness managers Jim Foley and John Lanni worked together to assess Bob’s condition and ready the center’s automated external defibrillator (AED) to shock his heart back into rhythm. They delivered two shocks and three rounds of CPR when CentraState’s Emergency Department (ED) staff arrived. Bob was quickly transported to the ED, where he was treated by board-certified cardiologist Gregory Noto, MD, FACC.

While Bob was alert and awake in the ED, his pacemaker report showed that his sudden cardiac arrest was likely caused by an episode of ventricular fibrillation, a type of rapid, erratic heartbeat. Once his heart rhythm stabilized, Dr. Noto’s cardiac team performed a cardiac catheterization procedure to check for blocked arteries.

“Bob had experienced sudden cardiac arrest,” explains Dr. Noto. “When this happens, we only have a few minutes to return blood flow to the brain. Performing CPR and using the AED saved his life.”

Bob underwent quadruple bypass surgery and wore a defibrillator vest for three months to monitor his heart and shock it back into normal rhythm if needed. After surgery, he completed CentraState’s cardiac rehabilitation program, which has been certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation five times. He’s lost 30 pounds and is doing light exercises at home—and he looks forward to lawn work and fishing this summer.

“If I was at any other gym, I wouldn’t be here today,” Bob says. “I was in the right place at the right time. I’m only alive because of CentraState.”

For more information about emergency services at CentraState, visit or call 866-CENTRA7 (866-236-8727)

Request More Information

Keep updated with the latest