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14-year-old Somerville girl performs CPR, saves neighbor

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SOMERVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - 59-year old Robert Ryder collapsed in the living room of his Somerville home Monday afternoon. He was having a reaction to some medicine he had taken and his heart had quit beating. He wasn't breathing. Robert's wife, not knowing what else to do, ran to the front door and started yelling for help. The only person close enough to hear her cries was a 14-year-old girl who, of course, had no medical training whatsoever. What happened next is absolutely amazing.

"911, where is your emergency?"

Monday afternoon, a frantic call for help. On the other end of the line, a man's life hung in the balance and the only one who could help was a 14-year-old girl.

"I called 911 and they told me I had to do CPR," said Carly Goodwin.

Goodwin had never performed CPR on anyone.  In fact, she had never had any training.

"She was really nervous at first to try to do CPR but I think she really wanted to help him so when she understood I was going to help her, she was ready to help him," says Morgan County 911 Dispatcher Jennifer Corum, who had answered Carly's call.

Carly did exactly what Jennifer told her to do, until the ambulance arrived.

"I'd put the heel of my hand and I just started doing it. I'd get a heartbeat back, I had to do it 200 times, I'd get a heartbeat. I'd stop, I'd say hello, I'd talk to him, and then it'd stop. So I had to keep doing it and wouldn't stop until they got there," Carly explained. She never gave up. Carly continued CPR until paramedics rushed through the door.

When paramedics arrived, they took over. Robert was in pretty bad shape. They rushed him to the hospital, but on Wednesday, Robert came home, and the first person he wanted to see was the young hero who had saved his life.

"You said you could hear me talking to you," Carly said.

"Yeah, after a while I could. I couldn't for a long time," said Robert.

Ryder says there's no doubt in his mind why he's alive today.

"Absolutely, absolutely. She saved my life," he said.

Carly says the experience has made her more thoughtful, and wanting to be a better person, for herself and for others.

"They're all proud of me and it feels good because I've never had a lot of people tell me they're proud of me and it, it feels good," Carly explains.

"Yeah, it's good when you have a good outcome, you feel good about it," said Ms. Corum. She has been an emergency dispatcher for seven years and has talked many people through the lifesaving process of CPR.

Wednesday afternoon, in pouring rain, Robert Ryder hugged the young woman who just two days earlier had saved his life, and said, "Thank you."


  • Drew

    What an awesome story. Hopefully this good experience will lead the 14 year old into a career in the medical industry as it sounds she is a natural at it. She should be very proud of herself, great job!

  • Robert Ryder

    I just want to reach out to this young lady and say “thank-you”. That was my father that she saved. And I want to say that I am PROUD of you as well. Not many people would step up and help a stranger. Thanks again!

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