RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME: Med student arrives at gym for workout, helps save man's life

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Medical students study how to save lives, but generally it is a while before they get to put that education into practice. But for one University of Maryland medical student, he was put to the test during a trip to the gym. Let's just say he passed with flying colors.

Isa Mohammed got to The Columbia Gym hours later than normal on August 26, but he was just in time to handle an emergency. A man in his 60s who had been working out on a stationary bike had just collapsed while leaving the cardio room.

“I checked his pulse and I didn’t feel anything and I didn’t notice that he was breathing, so I rolled him over and I just quickly started doing compressions just because that is something I remember from medical school,” Mohammed recalled.

He is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Maryland and learned CPR at school. He used it a few times on trauma and cardiac surgery rotations. But he had never saved a life outside the hospital until now.

“It was actually about 10 minutes of straight compressions, which was a solid exhausting workout,” he said. “I checked the pulses in between. Luckily, I had some help and by the end of it, he had a pulse. The EMT came in perfect timing and they were able to feel a solid pulse in his neck.”

Staff inside the 57,000-square foot gym is CPR trained and a lifeguard jumped in to help about halfway through. But everyone at the gym was very relieved the 24-year-old Mohammed was there to do the heavy lifting.

“We are so grateful to Isa and his timing was perfect,” said Steve Mendelsohn, general manager for The Columbia Gym. “He couldn’t have been more valuable and helpful in that moment to save a life.”

“In the hospital, I'm a medical student so I always have someone watching my back,” Mohammed said. “But here, I was completely by myself, which was a little scary, but glad things worked out. I did it a few times in hospital and it sometimes works out and sometimes it doesn’t. So I was glad this time it worked out for the best.”

Mohammed is training to be an ophthalmologist, so he said his ultimate goal is to save people's eyesight – not their lives. But he said it is wonderful to help out where needed.

Gym officials said they have been told that the man who collapsed has been released from the hospital.