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312 9th Street SW, Waverly, Iowa 50677

(319) 352-4120


Dave Hughes

December 26, 2016 is a date that will forever change Dave Hughes life. He began that morning as he had typically, at The W at Wartburg College. He got on a treadmill and started running. Moments later, Dave experienced cardiac arrest – when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. He fell off the treadmill and hit his head on the concrete floor.

Dave was unresponsive. Community members and The W staff came to Dave’s aid by performing CPR calling 911 and delivering a shock with The W’s AED. An AED is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm.

The Waverly Health Center ambulance team arrived and transported Dave to UnityPoint Health – Allen Hospital. There they discovered his head trauma had caused bleeding in his brain. He was then airlifted to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for emergent neurosurgery.

The journey of recovery was long and full of challenges for Dave.

Part of Dave’s recovery included physical, speech and occupational therapy at WHC for three months. “I need to make special mention of Deb Gayer and Ron Ragsdale. Given my 30+ years in corporate business and leadership, Deb and Ron stood out to me. They really role modeled Energy, Energize Others, Edge, Execution and Passion (Former GE CEO Jack Welch’s 4E’s & P)!  My therapists did a nice job tracking and giving me feedback from week to week,” said Dave. Dave appreciated the chance to work with different therapists and liked seeing steady progress with each session. “They also recognized and adjusted my appointments to better align with my post-injury energy and headaches.”

“Waverly Health Center was part of my ‘home team’ – everyone who contributed to my recovery and success over the last 14 months. I am also so blessed to have my faith. Without it I would not be here, moving ahead, with the amount of excitement and energy I have.” As Dave continues to recover, he’s working on how he can best lead, serve and shine on.

Learn the skills you need to save a life. WHC’s Heartsaver CPR & AED class is a three-hour video-based and instructor-led course. Click here to view our class dates and sign-up!