This Teenager Stopped To Revive A Dying Father – But Weeks Later He Turned Up At Her School

Image: Facebook/The Times-Mail
No doubt when high-schooler Lexi Lindsey set out for a music concert, she didn’t expect to save a life. However, when she saw a figure slump over on the road, Lindsey didn’t hesitate. And as her car stopped, she raced straight over to see if she could help.
Image: Facebook/Alexis Lindsey
At first glance, there’s little to connect Lindsey with Brian Putt. After all, she’s a student at Bedford North Lawrence High School (BNL), and he’s a U.S. Navy vet. Nevertheless, as Lindsey set out for a Justin Timberlake concert in April 2019, their paths crossed in a very serendipitous way.
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Putt, a father to two daughters, formerly served on a U.S. Navy submarine and currently works at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane. But during a work-related visit to Florida, he endured some health problems. Specifically, doctors diagnosed him with an irregular heartbeat, better known as heart arrhythmia.
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Arrhythmias can affect anyone of any age and come in five principal types. The most frequently occurring is atrial fibrillation (AF), which results in a more rapid heartbeat. In addition to the heart’s increase in beats per second, its rhythm also becomes inconsistent and unpredictable. Age and certain lifestyle choices increase the risk of AF.
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Supraventricular tachycardia, another kind of arrhythmia, causes a drastic increase in the sufferer’s heartbeat, even when they’re inactive. Meanwhile, bradycardia is almost the polar opposite, because it actually slows down the sufferer’s heart rhythms. In the case of heart block, which has similar symptoms, the speed shift can even make sufferers pass out.
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The final and most uncommon form of arrhythmia is called ventricular fibrillation. It’s also arguably the most dangerous, since its onset can quickly turn fatal. People with this kind of heart condition suffer from a rapid change in heartbeat frequency. The good news, though, is that there are ways to treat arrhythmias.
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For example, surgeons can implant arrhythmia sufferers with a cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), which are similar to external ones. You’re probably more familiar with paddle defibrillators that emit an electric current to shock a person’s heart into restarting. Well, ICDs work in a very similar way, but they’re inserted beneath the patient’s skin.
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The ICD is implanted in the body (typically beneath the collar bone) and connected to the heart via wires. When it senses unusual heartbeat activity that could lead to a cardiac arrest, the device activates. It consequently administers an electric shock to correct the heart’s arrhythmia without the aid of a manual defibrillator.
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And that’s exactly what doctors did for Putt to help regulate his heart condition. In fact, he told the Times-Mail in April 2019 that initially the ICD functioned as it should. “For a year, everything went perfectly,” Putt revealed. However, he then experienced difficulties one day while he was out and about.
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At the same time, Lindsey was heading towards Indianapolis’ Bankers Life Fieldhouse for a Justin Timberlake show. The singer’s Man Of The Woods performance had initially been scheduled for late 2018, but organizers postponed it when Timberlake damaged his vocal chords. They subsequently rearranged for April 2019, and Lindsey was on her way there when she saw something strange.
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As Lindsey and her companions passed through Monroe County, she saw a car pulled up alongside State Road 37. But she was more concerned about the man trying to climb the grass incline towards it. She could tell his progress was labored, and his condition only seemed to deteriorate further as she watched.
“He started waving his arms, and he fell to the ground,” Lindsey told the Times-Mail. “I screamed, ‘Stop the car!’” Then, as soon as the vehicle came to a halt, she took off at a sprint towards the fallen figure. Unknown to Lindsey at the time, that man was Putt, and he was suffering his first ICD-related problem since the implant.
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Putt was very lucky that Lindsey spotted him, in fact, since she’d had prior medical training. Indeed, the BNL senior is undertaking a course in health care. She signed up at Heidi Myers’ Health Careers I, which is part of the North Lawrence Career Center (NLCC), for just that reason. And her main goal was to improve her future job options.
In addition to opening Lindsey’s eyes to future work opportunities, her tasks also covered medical training. To be specific, the course included basic first aid, Stop the Bleed preparation and CPR. Furthermore, Lindsey’s coaching gave her the confidence to remain calm under pressure, which she put into practice with Putt.
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Lindsey called 911 during her dash towards the collapsed Putt, who had fallen onto the road. Consequently, her first instinct was to drag him towards the roadside, which was a challenge in and of itself. “He was a pretty big guy,” Lindsey recalled. The good news, though, was that Putt managed to cling onto consciousness.
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Although Putt was clearly distressed, he informed his rescuer that there was a problem with his heart. His ICD was sending shocks straight to it, in fact, which had caused his collapse. “He was wearing a FitBit, and I could see that his heart rate was extremely high,” Lindsey explained. “I was ready to do CPR if I had to.”
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Other passers-by also noticed Putt’s predicament and stopped to assist, including a gentleman wearing a high-visibility jacket. He helped Lindsey and Putt by warning oncoming traffic to keep a wide berth. But the high-school senior was the only person present with any kind of medical background, so she stayed by Putt’s side.
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Furthermore, thanks to her training, Lindsey knew what to do when Putt went into a seizure. “I turned him on his side to keep his airway clear,” she informed the Times-Mail. Putt’s fit passed as they waited for emergency services, so Lindsey struck up a conversation to keep him calm.
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“He told me he had a heart attack in 2018 and that he had been feeling funky all day,” Lindsey said of Putt. “We called his wife to let her know what was going on.” During all the commotion, though, Lindsey didn’t even get her patient’s name. However, without her, Putt might not be alive today.
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When the ambulance arrived, both Putt and medical staff informed Lindsey that her prompt reaction had made all the difference. “He told me and the EMT told me that I saved his life,” Lindsey recalled. It was only afterwards, though, during her trip to the concert, that the senior realized the importance of her actions.
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“I cried later from the stress,” Lindsey revealed. “I’m so glad I knew what to do. If I hadn’t had the class, I wouldn’t have known what to do.” Indeed, the teachers she later informed about the incident also agreed that her response was exemplary – and they told the Times-Mail as much.
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For example, NLCC’s Health Careers and Medical Terminology teacher Terri Briscoe spoke very highly of Lindsey. “Even if our students don’t go into a health career, these classes introduce them to life skills,” Briscoe explained. “Because Lexi had taken the class, she was able to talk to him, tell him to take slow, deep breaths, which was very important.”
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In addition, Lindsey’s actions impressed her tutor, Heidi Myers. “I love that she had the frame of mind to do what she did,” Myers said. “She had the calm presence of mind and skills to take care of that man until help arrived.” His identity remained a mystery to Lindsey, however, but she hoped he was recovering well.
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It turns out that Putt spent a couple of days in hospital as doctors treated his heart using an ablation. It’s a procedure that creates scar tissue on the heart muscles that are responsible for causing the patient’s arrhythmia. There are two variations of it: cryoablation freezes the target muscles and radiofrequency ablation burns them.
Image: Facebook/Alexis Lindsey
In addition, the ablation should also prevent any unwanted electrical impulses from triggering arrhythmia in the future. As a result of the treatment, Putt’s ICD stopped shocking his heart and he returned to health. But he never forgot the young girl who saved his life – and it wasn’t be the last time that he would see her.
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Some of Putt’s work colleagues happen to be from Bedford, in fact, where his story reached the news. As a result, he eventually learned the name of his rescuer and then set out to thank her properly. The Navy vet paid a surprise visit to the NLCC during her class for just that reason.
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Indeed, Putt made quite an entrance for the unsuspecting senior, complete with a bouquet of flowers. And he was greeted with an emotional response from Lindsey, who couldn’t believe her eyes. To be precise, she broke out in floods of tears as Putt wrapped her up in a grateful embrace.
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Putt passed on gratitude not only from himself but also from the entirety of his family and friends. According to the Times-Mail, the choked-up Lindsey replied, “I’m just glad you’re OK.” The Navy vet then spent some time talking to his rescuer and her classmates about the events of that day.
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“I wanted you to know I’m more than just a bigger guy,” the 6 foot, 2 inch tall Putt teased, after reading Lindsey’s description of him. He continued by revealing how seeing the article gave him an insight into Lindsey’s point of view. Putt indicated that it reminded him of his own daughter, in fact.
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“You’re going down a path, and it gets altered,” Putt continued. He also suggested that it wasn’t just Lindsey’s training that drove her reaction, either, although that was part of it. “What made you stop? It’s something called character,” Putt told his audience. “What is that? It’s doing the right thing when no one else will.”
Image: Facebook/Alexis Lindsey
From the Navy vet’s point of view, in fact, he thinks that Lindsey has done more than save his life. Putt believes that she’s proven what young people are capable of when they rise to the occasion. “You have so much character, you broke down a stereotype for your generation,” Putt told Lindsey.
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“You guys are eating Tide pods,” Putt joked to the assembled seniors. The Navy vet’s underlying message was a serious one, though, and its relevance applied to everybody. “Anyone in this room could be a hero,” he elaborated; “You don’t have to save a life. If you see an elderly person in the store, help them with groceries.”
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The Times-Mail reported how Putt explained his condition to the class. He described his arrhythmia as “basically your brain is telling your heart to do some crazy things.” The vet went on to detail events after Lindsey left him with medical staff.
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What impressed Putt most of all, in fact, was the level-headedness that Lindsey displayed in the heat of the moment. “I’ve seen grown men in the Navy break down in stressful situations,” he told everyone. On that subject, Putt had one last token of gratitude for his rescuer, and some backstory was required to explain its significance.
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Putt began by explaining his Naval background, and what he experienced when he first signed up. The first year of his service was spent aboard a submarine as a non-useful body (NUB). That meant he couldn’t interact with weapons. All he could do, in fact, was observe his superiors and familiarize himself with the vehicle’s operation systems.
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At the end of that year, Putt endured a grueling knowledge test before he could claim success. “For 20 years, I was a submarine guy,” he said. “The proudest day of my submarine career was when I earned my dolphins.”
Image: Medals of America
The dolphins that Putt mentioned are actually a reference to a U.S. Navy military insignia. It dates back to 1923 and was designed by commanding officers to enable seniority to be identified at a glance. The emblem itself comprises two dolphins at either side of a submarine at sea. Because of their diving and surfacing abilities, dolphins were deemed a fitting symbol for submarine servicemen.
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Moreover, not only are dolphins nature’s submarines, but sailors also consider the aquatic mammals as a patron of sorts. So you can imagine what the insignia meant to Putt when, after his tribulations, officers presented him with it. Putt held up the pin and said, “You’re not given these, you earn them.”
Image: Facebook/Alexis Lindsey
“I was awarded them October 19, 1993,” the serviceman explained. The Times-Mail recounted how he then presented Lindsey with his pin, telling her, “You earned them.” No doubt Lindsey was overwhelmed by such an honor. “I’m just glad to know I helped,” she said. “And that what I did actually meant something, and he’s OK.”

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