When Eric Care, a City of San Diego lifeguard sergeant, got the call that a man four miles north of his location along Torrey Pines State Beach was in cardiac arrest, there wasn’t time to think. All he could do was react.
“For every minute a heart attack victim goes without a pulse, the chances of recovery drop 10 percent,” says Care. “Fortunately, I knew exactly where he was and what I’d have to do to get there.”
Care and his team jumped into a Toyota Tundra Crew Max 4×4, proceeded across one stretch of beach and then powered through a pile of large loose rocks to get to the next stretch, where the victim was receiving CPR from a heroic passerby.
After administering three shocks with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), Care was able to restore the victim’s pulse. Then his team loaded the victim into the Tundra’s bed where they continued to perform CPR while Care retraced his steps through the treacherous terrain to a place where paramedics could whisk him away to a hospital.
“When I got to the rocks, I just aimed for the high spots, gave it the gas and somehow got through,” he says. “The combination of a good motor, good rubber and plenty of ground clearance made the difference. I was never so relieved to have such a good truck under me.”