Surfer meets woman who saved his life

By Brenton Awa
Published On: Oct 01 2013 05:32:00 PM HST

Surfer Kai Lapschies had a seizure while surfing at Waikiki and was in the hospital for three weeks. He and his rescuer Kelly Patrick met again for the first time after the accident.

HONOLULU -

Nearly one month ago, a surfer almost drowned in the ocean near Kalama beach in Waikiki. A good samaritan came to the rescue and saved his life. On Tuesday, the surfer and his rescuer were reunited.

Kai Lapschies doesn't remember much about the day he almost died. He had just graduated from Punahou High School and was surfing at Tongs with a friend when a wave rolled in.

"I caught it, he didn't," said Lapschies.

That's the last thing Lapschies remembers. Lapschies hadn't taken his daily medication and was all alone when he had a seizure. Where Lapschies memory blacked out, Kelly Patrick's begins. She was out on the water surfing near Lapschies when it happened. Patrick glanced in the right direction at just the right time.

"All I see is his hair underwater," said Patrick.

Lapschies was face down in the water and wasn't moving. Patrick paddled over to him screaming for help.

"When I got right in front of him, I jumped off my board, grabbed him from under his arms, pulled him out of the water, kept his head up and as soon as his head came out of the water, his face was white and foam was coming out of his mouth," said Patrick.

Patrick might've saved Lapschies life by doing CPR. She says after a couple of minutes of chest compressions, color came back to Lapschies face before lifeguards arrived. When they took him away, that's the last she saw of the man she'd just rescued.

The 19-year-old spent three weeks in the hospital. He was in a coma for 11 days. Lapschies family and friends waited for him to pull through.

(img9)Surfer meets rescuer for the first time following surf accident

PHOTOS: Surfer meets his rescuer

Click here to see photos of the reunion.

"They didn't know if I was even going to wake up, I could've wake up never or like as a vegetable," said Lapschies.

All Patrick could do was wait and wonder, what ever happened to that stranger she suddenly felt connected to? On Tuesday, she found out.

Lapschies is still battling pneumonia, but jumped at the chance to meet Patrick.
"It's good to see your eyes looking at me, this is what I wanted to see you know," said Patrick.

Thirty minutes of "thank yous" and phone number swapping passed in an instant. Patrick and Lapschies came away with new outlooks on life.

"It's changed my total mindset," said Lapschies.

Patrick vows to teach CPR to anyone that she comes across. Lapschies gets to savor life once again.

"Coming back from being dead, this is like my second chance," said Lapschies.

Lapschies was released from the hospital last week. Once he's better, he plans on getting back to work, so he can put himself back in college.

Lapschies also wants to credit his best friend Noah Takaesu, whom he says also performed CPR on him, and Patrick's friend Olya, whom he says helped to rescue him from the water.  Lapschies says both of them also helped to save his life.

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