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HILLSVILLE — Carroll County Circuit Court personnel are credited with saving the life of a well-known defense attorney who suffered a sudden health issue Thursday afternoon.
Sheriff Warren Manning saw part of the incident after Joe McGrady collapsed in the courtroom at 1 p.m.
Manning ran upstairs from the sheriff's department to help when he heard there was a problem and found Judge Brett Geisler and Deputy David Shockley already performing CPR.
Commonwealth's Attorney Greg Goad knew where the emergency defibrillator was kept on the second floor and went to get it.
McGrady fell back and had turned blue and white, Manning said. "They felt like he was leaving them."
But, when the officials shocked him with the defibrillator, McGrady started coming back.
"I think they saved his life — if they hadn't been there, I don't know what would have happened," Manning said. "I'm glad it happened somewhere where people could help him."
McGrady was taken to Forsyth Medical Center. Later, the prominent Carroll County Democrat was heard joking that "three Republicans saved his life."
Son Jonathan McGrady said Friday that further tests showed that the incident was not a heart attack, but some “electrical” problem.
The elder McGrady doesn't appear to have any damage and intends to get back to work immediately.
The family appreciates the actions of the court personnel, which included Debbie Wilson, who read out the instructions for the defibrillator for Goad, as well as the emergency medical technicians.
Geisler helped McGrady breathe while Shockley did compressions, Jonathan McGrady noted. "They really were heroes about it, that's true."
It's also a good thing that the defibrillators were there and ready for use, the younger McGrady said.
Carroll County received a grant several years ago to station the auto external defibrillators in the governmental center for just such a contingency, Emergency Services Director Mike Mock explained.
"I can't say enough about the people that were performing CPR and who ran to get the AED," Mock said. "We would encourage people to remember how important it is to take a CPR class, which includes the auto external defibrillator training."
The device is user-friendly, but the training is still helpful, he explained.