EDGEMONT, N.Y. -- Bill and Hilary Greenberg and their three children traveled to Costa Rica last April for a spring vacation of scuba diving and fun in the sun when an accident nearly cost Hilary her life.
The Greenberg's story of life-saving CPR, medical miracles, rehabilitation and faith will be told on Anderson Cooper's "Anderson Live" talk show that airs Thursday at noon on Fox-5 television in New York.
Both physicians and certified divers, the Greenbergs may have been perfectly situated for the unexpected scuba diving accident that occurred when a sudden surge tossed Hilary through a rock formation and sent her to the bottom of a reef. After a 10-minute search, Bill spotted Hilary's dive suit at the bottom of the reef, swam to the other side of the reef and found her lying on the coral, unresponsive and without her regulator in her mouth.
Bill and the dive master lifted Hilary to the surface of water and Bill attempted to do CPR in the water but only managed to get a few breaths into her while they waited the boat to pick them up.
Bill and the others continued to work on Hilary, who had been submerged for nearly nine minutes, as the boat headed back to shore. Despite the unusually lengthy term of more than 20 minutes of CPR and no response, Bill Greenberg continued administering CPR even after EMS personnel met the boat on shore.
"Bill knew how to see that he was doing CPR correctly by assessing that his breaths were going in, and most importantly, he did not give up and did it for 40-45 minutes without stopping until they found a heart rhythm on the beach," Hilary told The Daily Voice.
Hilary was transported to a local hospital on life support with a tube inserted down her throat to clear her airways. She was later taken by plane to Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he remained on life support at Del Ray Hospital for more than a week until she began the respond.
Ten days after the accident it was determined that Hilary could breathe on her own and she was transported to the Neuro ICU at Columbia University Hospital in New York. Despite one doctor's claim that she was brain dead, the second set of tests performed at Columbia looked more positive.
Hilary recovered slowly and was moved the Burke Rehabilitation Center in White Plains where she spent five weeks of intensive therapy before going home to continue her recovery.
Hilary Greenberg attributes her recovery the power of prayer, as the Jewish prayer for healing, known as the Mi Sheberakh was being said for her at temples all over the country.
Hilary said that her will to live and diligent approach to therapy may have helped, but she gives full credit to her husband Bill's knowledge of CPR and his valiant efforts to save her.
"My hero saved me, and I am very lucky they note a full recovery," Hilary said. "At this point, we hope our story will encourage many others to learn CPR."