A Woodbridge, Va., family has been following the developments in the Cecil Mills case. They reached out to FOX 5 because they thought our viewers should know about another emergency. It was a heart attack that also happened in public, but had much a different ending.
They are sending their condolences to the Mills family and sending a reminder to all of us about the importance of reaching out to others.
Noor Akbari moves slowly and leans on a walker. It’s not bad considering that just over a week ago at a D.C. intersection, his whole world stopped.
“Sorry to say it, but he was dead for 15 seconds,” said Akbari’s son, Murtaza.
Akbari had a medical emergency while he was driving. His two young sons were in the backseat.
When the heart attack happened, Akbari was stopped a red light at busy 23rd and I Streets. His cousin, who was in the passenger seat, quickly shifted the car into park.
Everybody looked because Akbari’s foot was still on the gas pedal.
It was just a couple of minutes later that Akbari said some angels appeared.
“She's an angel to me. God sent her to me,” he said.
An angel sent on the way back from lunch.
“We were like, ‘What's going on over there?’” said Dr. Katie Byrd.
She and Dr. Grant Barry are emergency medicine residents at George Washington University Hospital.
“As we got closer, we saw that there was a man lying halfway out of the driver's seat,” Byrd said.
Both doctors did chest compressions right in the middle of the intersection.
“Nothing, couldn't feel a pulse at all,” said Dr. Barry.
“My first instinct was put him on the monitor, but we had no monitor,” said Byrd.
Murtaza Akbari rushed to the hospital.
“When I walked in, it was the scariest thing I've ever seen in my life,” he said.
His father was in a coma for several days. He woke up and is home now.
“It's very rare to find people that will actually come up to a stranger and help people,” said Murtaza Akbari.
The family had a chance to meet Byrd and Barry.
“They say she was the one that saved [my] life,” said Noor Akbari. “I say, 'Really?' I say, ‘Thank you very much’ and I start kissing her hand immediately.”
“Now every time we go to lunch, we're like, 'Is it going to happen again?’” Dr. Byrd said.
Akbari's son said he feels so fortunate, he plans to start volunteering to give back to his community.
“Let's all make sure that we help each other and strive to be better,” said Murtaza Akbari.
“So many other doctors were involved in his care and it was very much a team effort, so I would not feel comfortable taking credit for saving his life even though I know he thinks that,” said Dr. Byrd, adding she feels undeserving of the “angel” title.