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SFPD Officer and SFO Good Samaritans Help Save Life of Airport Visitor

SFPD Officer John Leong and two Airport guests are being recognized for their roles in saving the life of an SFO passenger who suffered a cardiac arrest on Sunday, May 19.

Officer Leong and the two Good Samaritans worked together to help revive a 25-year old East Bay man who had collapsed near Gate A1 in the International Terminal.  The victim was waiting to board an outbound Jet Blue flight when he began snoring loudly, then suddenly slumped and fell off a chair.  

66-year old David Sheraton of Lake Forest, California, came to his aid and, noting that the victim was unresponsive and not breathing, began chest compressions.

“I immediately pushed the victim on his back and began compressions to the rhythm of the song ‘Stayin Alive’ which has a great beat to keep you on track with 100 compressions per minute,” said Sheraton, who happens to be the CEO of a company that manufactures cardiology devices.

That second Good Samaritan was 27 year-old Matthew Brockel of Cypress, CA, who located the nearest automated external defibrillator (AED) and brought it to Sheraton. 

Sheraton used the AED to work on the victim for about 10 minutes until Officer Leong and Sgt. Bobby Cheung arrived.  Officer Leong then took over resuscitation efforts and was able to revive the patient, again using the AED, who was then taken by ambulance to the hospital.

“The heroic actions of Officer Leong, as well as the citizens who began CPR undoubtedly saved this patient's life,” said SFPD Captain Eric Vintero, with the Airport Bureau.  Officer Leong has been nominated for the Life-Saving Award given by the Police Commission.  David Sheraton and Matthew Brockel also deserve recognition for their brave actions and will be given a police commendation.”

Leong is a veteran police officer who works the swing watch at SFO.  When asked about the incident, he responded, “The Airport sees thousands of travelers every day and we respond to countless medical calls.  We’ve saved a lot of lives over the years and we train for this, so it’s second nature to us.  I don’t consider myself a hero, I was just doing my job, but it felt good when my boss said, ‘You just saved a life, I think you’re good for the day!’”

Sheraton called the incident the “pinnacle of my medical device career.”

“I have helped develop these defibrillators for 40 years but I’ve never been on the side where I am actually using it in a life or death situation,” said Sheraton.  “My wife said she never saw me move that fast!  I wasn’t thinking about anything else but bringing him back.  I’m glad he’s ok.”

SFO thanks all three men for their fast action.  To learn more about the early warning signs of a heart attack, visit the American Heart Association site:  https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/warning-signs-of-a-heart-attack