“You have to come back…. Where will I go with the 2 kids?” urged the sobbing wife clenching hard to her husband’s chest as he was being rushed in to the Cath lab, and I was still pushing some lifesaving drugs in him. Dramatic scenes which I don’t think I will ever forget in my life.
The 37 year old was brought to my department last month with history of sudden onset chest pain 30 minutes prior to arrival, followed by unconsciousness en route to hospital. On arrival, he was gasping, there was no pulse, spontaneous breathing, or recordable blood pressure with pupils which were non-reactive to light – no signs of life.
We immediately started CPR, initial rhythm was a ventricular fibrillation and he was shocked immediately, intubated (put him on a ventilator) and all life-saving drugs were given as we frantically tried to revive him.
After a gruesome 22 minutes, his heart started again and we immediately rushed him for an angioplasty as his ECG and bedside 2D Echo were suggestive of a massive heart attack.
His elder brother, sister in law, wife were all in tears and disbelief with lots of questions – we were also in a situation where we only could do our best and leave it to God, pray that the brain survives those precious minutes of CPR and that the heart does not go into sudden arrhythmias again.
I followed up with our critical care team that night and I was elated to know that he asked for his mother, he asked for water – signs that he was well protected neurologically – news which fills us with joy and satisfaction of saving that young life.
Against all odds, this patient WALKED BACK home from the hospital after a few days, with no neuro-deficit. He was clinically dead for 22 minutes, but miraculously, doctors brought him back to life, a tale nothing short of a medical miracle.
Today, the patient and his brother came to meet me and say thank you – a very emotional and heart touching experience which I will never forget in my life.
During our conversation, I also showed them my blog posts & Facebook posts, how even we at the hospital wished and prayed for his recovery.
When I told them that they should be thankful to God, I was left tear eyed when his brother said, “The only God we knew that day was you.” I was left speechless.
“Can we have a photo of you with him? Please add his photo to your articles”, he added.
Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for all the miracles he does every day, and we’re happy to play a small role in them.
NOTE: Due to lack of awareness about bystander CPR in India, less than 5-7 % of patients suffering from out of hospital cardiac arrest actually survive. Not everyone is lucky like that patient. Hence, bystander and first responder resuscitation become extremely crucial.
CPR effectively keeps blood flowing and provides oxygen to the brain and other vital organs, giving the victim a better chance for a full recovery.
CPR saves lives! Get trained – You have the power to save a life.
*Photo published with patient’s permission (in black t-shirt).