HIGH POINT, N.C. — Patricia and Bobby Middlebrooks, of High Point, will never forget July 27, 2020. Around 4:30 a.m., Patricia awoke to a strange noise coming from her husband.
“It scared me, so I got up and cut the bathroom light on, and I watched him,” Patricia said. “He was still breathing real shallow-like.”
She yelled for their son who was asleep in another room, and the pair called 911.
“They told him to massage his heart, which we didn’t know CPR,” Patricia said. “So we moved the bed over and laid him flat on the floor because that was the instruction, and my son was counting, pressing on his chest. And I was just overwhelmed with what I was looking at.”
Just a few blocks away, High Point police officer Derik Huffman heard the call come over the radio and raced over.
“Usually we get there and EMS has already beat us there. But this time, I was the first on the scene,” Huffman said. “Due to the severity of the call, training just kicked in.”
By the time Officer Huffman got into the bedroom, Bobby wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a heartbeat.
“The son was trying to do CPR, and I could hear the dispatcher (on speakerphone) explaining to them CPR, and I remember using that, using the reps as I was doing CPR because I could hear her just giving out the cadence to stay on to,” Huffman said. “It was a matter of maybe a minute, two minutes, and when she got there, it was relief.”
‘She’ is his partner, Master Officer Robyn Shute.
“I said, ‘OK, I’ll take over now,’ and he stood up and I could tell he was out of breath,” Shute said. “You don’t realize when you’re training, but when you’re in the moment and doing real compressions on a real person, it’s a lot harder than you think it is.”
The two worked together until EMS arrived.
They took over. They hit him one time with an electroshock, and you could just hear him take this breath,like a loud snoring breath,” Huffman said. “And just this big rush of relief comes over you at that time because you know that he’s now breathing on his own.”
EMS told the officers had they not started chest compressions when they did, Bobby likely wouldn’t have survived.
Bobby was placed in a medically induced coma for 24 hours and spent six weeks recovering in the hospital and getting stronger.
Six months later, Bobby has a pacemaker and visits the hospital multiple times a week to participate in a heart health program.
Bobby doesn’t remember the ordeal, but he and his wife are very aware this could’ve had a much different outcome.
“I did make it back. I did receive that kind of attention,” Bobby said. “Nobody gave up on me, and it worked out for my benefit.”
“I know God put these people in place for this. I knew he had the right people to do the job,” Patricia said. “I couldn’t ask for two better people to walk through the door.”