Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Vicky Dorvee

Learning CPR saved boyfriend’s life


August 2, 2018

Courtesy Photo Isaiah Cormier’s heart had stopped after he was struck by lightning while camping with his girlfriend, Juliette Moore. Moore’s recent CPR training saved Cormier’s life.

Gunbarrel’s Isaiah Cormier is telling a lot of people a pretty crazy story these days and hoping that more lives are saved as a result. That Cormier was struck by lightning when it didn’t seem terribly threatening is the start of the story. But, the fact that his girlfriend Juliette Moore, who had taken a class in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the past month, was able to restart his heart - twice - was an even more remarkable event.

On the second day of a camping trip, just as rain began to fall, the couple headed back to their campsite on BLM land near Ruby Gulch. Cormier was tending to their belongings outside the tent while Moore went inside. A couple of claps of thunder and flashes of lightning and that’s the extent of what Cormier recalls. But he now knows that Moore looked out of the tent and found him face down on the ground.

“Her initial thought was, ‘Oh, he hit the ground because he was worried about getting struck.’ But in reality, I was not breathing and my heart had stopped,” Cormier said. Moore quickly realized that it was serious.

She didn’t hesitate to start CPR, doing both chest compressions and rescue breaths. Cormier started to breath, but then stopped again, so Moore did another round of CPR until Cormier’s heart started to beat again. Moore screamed for help from a neighboring camper who helped her get Cormier in the car.

With Cormier mumbling in the back seat, the three of them sped down the forest road to the Peak to Peak Highway. They were fortunate an ambulance was in the area and was able to meet them at a pull-off about a mile down the road towards Nederland.

“I think Juliette called 911 right after the CPR,” Cormier said, “which was pretty crazy because her phone only had two percent battery left.”

Cormier became more lucid in the ambulance and kept asking what happened. He said, “Every time they answered me, ‘Isaiah you got struck by lightning’, I would go ‘No way!’”

He was taken to Boulder Community Hospital, given chest x-rays and then transported to the burn unit at UCHealth. “They were able to discover that thankfully, there were no visible damages on the CT scan,” Cormier said.

After 36 hours of monitoring, he was released and the doctors said he had no long-term injuries. He needed a follow up with his physician, a chiropractic once-over for any possible muscle issues, and a visit with an ophthalmologist to see if he had cataracts, which are a common result of electrical injuries. Everything checked out well.

“I’m very lucky to be alive, thankful to Juliette, and I’m a believer, so I’m thankful to God as well,” Cormier said. “The fact that I got struck was incredibly ridiculous because we weren’t at the top of a hill, we weren’t above tree line, there was a highway above me, and tall trees were all around me. I wasn’t in the middle of a field, so there’s really no explanation.”

Cormier, a graduate of Boulder High School and Moore, a Fairview High graduate are both 18. They were members of the co-ed mixed school rowing team, which Moore is helping to coach this summer. The CPR certification Moore earned through the Boulder YMCA was a requirement for that position. The couple has been dating for more than two years and both will be attending Montana State University this fall.

Moore’s choice of careers could not be more perfect – she’s planning to be a nurse. Cormier will be getting a multi-disciplinary degree in marketing, psychology, and neuroscience. This summer, he’s working at his dad’s marketing firm in Boulder.

“It’s definitely been difficult for Juliette, because that was a very traumatic thing to witness. I, fortunately and unfortunately have not been able to share that with her because I have no memory of it,” Cormier said.

Cormier has not taken CPR yet, but plans to before the end of the summer along with other members of his rowing crew.

“I’ve been getting lots of hugs, especially from people I don’t know very well,” Cormier said.”And my grandpas, who are pretty stoic men, are coming up to me and giving me big ‘ol bear hugs.”

What he wants people to take away from his experience is the importance of attending CPR classes so they will be prepared for the unexpected.

“I would not be alive right now if not for Juliette learning CPR,” Cormier said.


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