Emergency Room Doctor Called a Hero 
Shannon Downing 
Monday, 01 December 2008 
 
 
Dr. Steve Benaron (far left) reunites with the man he helped save while the two were kite surfing at Pismo State Beach earlier this year. 
    It was just another day in the emergency room for Dr. Steven Benaron. The only difference, he was on a white sandy beach surrounded by drying sea kelp and crashing waves. 
    A few months ago, Dr. Benaron finished his call at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center and headed to Pismo State Beach with his wife, Susan. The two planned to enjoy an afternoon out on the beautiful Central Coast water, kite surfing. But just before the doctor was able to trade in his scrubs for a wetsuit, he heard someone calling for help. 
    The 25-year veteran of emergency medicine glanced up just in time to see two other kite surfers preparing to enter the surf. He quickly noticed though, that one of those surfers was being held up by the other. 
    Without a moment to spare, Dr. Benaron rushed to the aid of his fellow surfer. The man who had collapsed was still attached to his kite when the doctor arrived at his side. Dr. Benaron released the harness and searched for a pulse. The man was not breathing. His heart had stopped. 
    Dr. Benaron immediately began administering CPR, while his wife called 911 on her cell phone. After a few moments, the man began grabbing at Dr. Benaron’s hand, but then quickly fell back into cardiac arrest.
 
 
    Just then, another woman came to offer her assistance in resuscitating the man. Together the two continued to perform CPR. Once again, the man slipped in and out of life. 
    After what Dr. Benaron estimated to be about five minutes, a lifeguard and two park rangers arrived on scene. They brought with them an AED machine, a machine the lifeguard had just been trained on the day before. With the technique still fresh in his mind, the lifeguard attached the pads and started the automated machine. 
    Flop. 
    The man’s pulse returned, but just for a second. The lifeguard shocked him again. 
    Flop. 
    This time the man began to cough. Without warning, he sat up, looked around and asked, “where’s my truck?” 
    For Dr. Benaron, saving lives is just part of the job. But on this day, it meant a little more. “It was the most exhilarating save of his life,” said Dr. Benaron. “I was completely outside of my comfort zone.” 
    As for the man he helped save. His name is Larry Gill. He’s recovering well, with apparently no cardiac damage to report. 
    “It’s amazing that there was an emergency room doctor and an AED machine on the beach in Oceano that day,” said Gill. “It’s an absolute miracle.” 
    Gill says he’s anxious for his healing to be complete so that he can start enjoying his favorite pastime. He plans to hook up his kite and fly over the ocean by the beginning of next year.