Henry Kosinski's co-workers at Wheeling's Engis Corp. helped save his life two months ago after he went into cardiac arrest two hours after arriving at work. And on Tuesday, Engis employees welcomed Kosinski back with hugs and cheering.
Kosinski, 58, drove to work the morning of July 14 and felt fine, he says.
"After 9 a.m., I felt bad. One minute I'm sweating, cold, sweating," Kosinski said. He doesn't remember what happened after that.
Co-workers say Kosinski fell to the floor near his workstation located in the company's machine room.
"The guys hollered at me and said, 'Come over here,' and I looked down and there's Henry laying on the ground," said machine shop supervisor Greg Nania of Rockford. "He was all purple."
Nania says Kosinski didn't have a pulse and wasn't breathing. He immediately began trying to revive Kosinski.
While he performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and administered chest compressions, he told employees to get Doug Jones, the plating shop supervisor, who knew how to use the company's automatic external defibrillator.
"I had like four people banging on my door, 'Doug, Doug, come to the machine shop, something's wrong,'" recalled Jones, a Wheeling resident.
After locating the defibrillator, Jones hooked it up to Kosinski and followed the machine's directions.
After shocking Kosinski once, Jones says, he still wasn't breathing. Jones continued compressions for another two minutes until the machine told him to administer another shock.
"I hit the button again and it jumped up again and that's when he started breathing," Jones said. "So then I started doing the compressions again and the next thing I know, that's when I had all the paramedics surrounding me and behind me and they got me up and they took over."
Since July 14, Jones says, the defibrillator was sent out so the usage could be analyzed to see just how effective it was.
"They said that what did it was that second shock that started his heart up again," he said.
Kosinski's doctor still hasn't figured out why he went into cardiac arrest.
"He said, 'I don't know,'" Kosinski said.
Now that Kosinski is back on the job, he has a modified work plan that requires him to sit while working and keeps him from lifting anything over 20 pounds.
Kosinski has to wait a few months, he says, before he can get back to his normal routine on the machine floor, but he's glad to be back at work.
Jones, who had never been called on before to use a defibrillator in an emergency, says he was a bit nervous when told it was needed, but that everything just fell into place as he and Nania worked to save Kosinski's life.
"It's hard to explain, but you just go through the motions and that's what I did," Jones said. "I knew I had to do it."
He says he is glad he got to be part of the team that saved Kosinski.
"I've known Henry for many, many years and it's not the years that you know a person, but just to save a person's life is a feeling that is unforgettable," Jones said. "And it made me very happy that I had this training."
Engis Corp. manufactures superabrasive technology and diamond-plated products and has about 165 employees in Wheeling. Human resources manager Trissen Vo says the company has installed two additional defibrillators since July 14.