BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — It wasn’t the night he expected but on Wednesday, Tax Collector Chuck Perdue saved a woman’s life.
As Perdue and his wife were heading to ‘Alice’s on Bayview’ for dinner, he says he noticed a congregation of people around a young woman lying on the ground.
He says he didn’t want to be nosey but comments by two others going into the restaurant concerned him. “One said I’m going to get another cold rag, the other one said ‘I don’t know, she’s turning blue’,” said Perdue.
Baylee was out walking her dog when she had a heart attack. “Her dog Nova did a, what we call, a ‘help yelp.’ This very high pitch yelping to bring attention,” said Baylee’s mother, Angel Caudill.
Perdue is CPR certified and went over to assist. He says when he got over to her, he says Baylee’s face and neck were blue and gray. “I did chest compressions for about 90 seconds to maybe two minutes and I noticed the color start coming back up into her neck and as it rose up to her face, she opened her eyes and she gasped for breath.”
While Perdue was performing chest compressions, Caudill says she heard it all play out over the phone. She says another bystander used Baylee’s phone to call her.
“She stayed on the phone with me until the ambulance got there. My daughter wasn’t breathing for a significant period of time,” said Caudill.
Perdue says Baylee looked as if she was about to vomit so they turned her on to her side. He says she started to turn blue once again so he started compressions once again.
Once Panama City Firefighters arrived on the scene, they took over and continued to perform CPR on Baylee. Baylee was shocked by an AED and ultimately resuscitated her.
She was then transported to Bay Medical.
Baylee’s mother says the heart attack was caused by a disease. “At about 15, Baylee was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.”
Baylee was a competitive cheerleader and the heart disease is mostly found in high-intensity athletes.
After the experience, both sides are hoping more people will get CPR certified. “CPR training is not hard and it can truly save a life and you don’t need it until you need it, right? But when you need it, it could save a life. I’m feel blessed I had the opportunity to be at the right place at the right time,” said Perdue.
Caudill says she’s also pushing for more EKG testing for sports physicals.
Perdue and Caudill were able to meet at the hospital. Caudill said, “Of course, I hugged him (Perdue) fiercely. We didn’t get to speak to him very much but he saved my daughter’s life and I’m in absolute debt of gratitude.”
The two say, they now have a bond that will never be broken.
Perdue said, “Baylee and her family are remarkable. Her fiancée serves our country in the United States Army. They have a bright future ahead of them.”
“I don’t even know if there are words, there’s no expression of gratitude to someone that saves your child’s life,” said Caudill.
Baylee’s fiancée is stationed in Africa but will be coming home in the coming days to be by her side.
Caudill says she is also thankful for Baylee’s future in-laws. She says, without them, she doesn’t know how much strength she would have to get through this situation.
Perdue says he hopes to be invited to the wedding.
Baylee’s mother says she is getting better and better each day. She is expected to make a full recovery.