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The Cumberland Rescue Service said Jon Harlan suffered a cardiac arrest and was dead for 37 minutes before he was revived. (Cumberland Rescue Service)

Authorities: Man revived after being 'clinically dead' for 37 minutes

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By: DANIELLE KENNEDY AND JESSICA A. BOTELHO, NBC 10 NEWS

CUMBERLAND, R.I. (WJAR) — A man was revived after being "clinically dead" for more than a half hour, according to authorities.

The Cumberland Rescue Service said Jon Harlan suffered a cardiac arrest while volunteering at a community food bank on Nov. 13.

"Outside in the parking lot, in the rain, a dreary night, similar to tonight," Chief Kenneth Finlay of the Cumberland Fire Department told NBC 10 News Tuesday night.

The Rescue Service said two witnesses, James Pryor and Norma Tinker, performed CPR until Cumberland Police Officer Andrew Dutra arrived, followed by Cumberland Paramedics.

"Shortly thereafter, members of the Cumberland Fire District and Paramedics from the Cumberland Rescue Service arrived on scene," a post on the Cumberland Rescue Service Facebook page noted. "After being clinically dead for 37 minutes, Mr. Harlan was resuscitated."

Harlan was stabilized and taken to Miriam Hospital, where he "spent several days in the ICU and was discharged home just after Thanksgiving."

"You think more about the families involved, what it must be like for the family to have that loved one back," Lt. Eric Dirosairo Cumberland Fire Department said.

First responders said a recent change in CPR protocol allowed them to stay on scene longer, which proved to be critical moments they needed to save Harlan's life.

"We worked for 28 minutes before transporting, where in the past, we might only work on the scene for 10 minutes before transporting," Lt. Eric Dirosairo - Cumberland Fire Department said.

The Rhode Island Department of Health now mandates first responders to do 30 minutes of CPR at the scene before they can transport a patient to the hospital.

Finlay said it's helping save lives.

"Four out of five of our cases have been successful resuscitations," he said. "So, the program and the protocol are working in the town of Cumberland."

First responders received lifesaving medals for their efforts to save Harlan's life.

"It's like a personal reward for the responding force -- that they can bring somebody back to life and give them another chance," Finlay said.

Authorities also praised Pryor and Tinker for their efforts.

"This case exemplifies the impact of bystander CPR on outcome," according to the post. "As professional EMS providers we do this every day and we do not warrant or desire any special awards or recognition for being just one faction in the resuscitation of a patient. This is what we do. However, in this case, the bystanders (Mr. Pryor and Ms. Tinker) who stepped up and stepped in to save a life deserve recognition. Strong work bystanders!! Mr. Harlan thanks all who were involved in his care."

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