Shortly after 10 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, Rothenberg began feeling faint while playing tennis with his friends at the Mercer Island Country Club.
Rothenberg’s tennis partners immediately yelled for someone to call 911.
Within seconds, two MICC members, both of whom happened to be doctors, were at Rothenberg’s side administering CPR. Minutes later, they were using the MICC defibrillator to jump-start the man’s heart.
The EMT team had yet to arrive. When they did, Rothenberg’s pulse was already beating again.
Rothenberg, who is feeling healthy and active today, only a week after the cardiac arrest, said his rescue was a miracle.
“The fact that those two doctors were there, and the defibrillator, are the reasons I survived. If I had been anywhere else, it would have been too late,” Rothenberg said.
Dr. Alan Geltzer, one of the two doctors to respond to Rothenberg, agreed.
“There were a lot of things that came together to save his life. There were lots of people around, and those involved were able to jump on things and get things going,” Geltzer said, adding that the fact that MICC had a defibrillator was essential. “There’s no question, the defibrillator and CPR kept Eric alive. It’s tremendous that the Country Club has one.”
It took Bellevue paramedics nearly 10 minutes to arrive at the South-end Country Club with an ambulance. Geltzer and Dr. Niraj Patel were administering CPR to Rothenberg within seconds.
A few days after the emergency, Rothenberg was back at home with his two sons and wife, Edith. He suffered no brain damage and now carries an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) near his heart to detect any further episodes of cardiac arrhythmia.
“It’s hard to articulate. It makes me not only appreciate the people who were there to help, but the Mercer Island community. Even people I don’t know have offered their support and prayers,” Rothenberg said. “It’s like looking at my kids and my family, and having a greater appreciation for life.”