27 November 2005

Surviving 28 Heart Attacks

This one is a record-setter. I heard this over on TV's FoxNews as I came home late this evening. Once in a while, something strange happens that even medical doctors find amazing. It came from the British newspaper The Sun, which more often than not, deals with sensational and juicy news items. I checked other news sources to see how authentic it was, and found that it really did happen. The account below was excerpted from The Times:
Mr Kerswell, a shower engineer, was at work when he began having chest pains. "I finished work, came home at about 2:30pm and they started again, so I lay down upstairs," he said. "They got worse, so I phoned Heather and she said, ‘Phone for the ambulance’. The last thing I remember is being carried down the stairs on a chair by the paramedics. They said it was shortly after I got to the ambulance that I had my first cardiac arrest. I don’t remember anything until the next evening, when I came off the life-support machine."

He suffered 5 cardiac arrests during the journey of a mile to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and another 23 inside the building. To the increasing surprise of doctors, they were able to bring him back on each occasion using a defibrillator, which is a device that delivers a controlled electric shock through the chest wall to the heart, in order to restore a normal heartbeat.

Mrs Kerswell, 51, said: "It’s a miracle that he is here. We were told that this was very unusual."

[TIMES Online, Nov 26 2005]

"Very unusual?"

Hah! That, I think, is the understatement of the month. Imagine having 28 heart attacks in one day and being revived every time, and capping it with nothing less than a happy ending. It looks like something straight out of the Unbreakable movie. Mr Jeff Kerswell, 54, was released from the hospital after about a week of confinement. He is now recovering in his house, and is very thankful for his miraculous recovery. Who wouldn't be?

My personal congratulations to all the doctors, nurses, and paramedics involved in this amazing rescue!

7 reactions:

Jet said...

OMG... that's one heart attack every hour, and even more! He must be doing something very right in his life or something in his body or in his genes is sitting there working miracles on him. I don't suppose doctors have gone to him to ask if they may examine him or something? This is phenomenon enough to merit that, don't you think?

beajerry said...

That's an amazing tale.
28 shocks couldn't have been damageless in themselves though. Could they?

Dr E said...

Hello Jet and Beajerry! Coming from 2 excellent nurses, those comments mean a lot. Personally, I think he is a very lucky man. Yes, I think those shocks ought to fry one's heart and confuse the normal sinus rhythm. But hey, the news item was sensational because he survived it and even came out with a smile in his face. He must've really, really wanted to live. =)

eye said...

grabe, 28!!! yet he is so young!!! it really is a miracle. i hope he lives long enough to correct/change whatever abuse he did to his body before, if ever there was :)

Path-Swede said...

He didn't suffer 28 heart attacks. He probably suffered one (1) attack, and then had some kind of arrhythmia which sent him into V-fib or V-tach 28 times. While doing an ICU rotation I saw a patient walk towards the big white light numerous times (15), but with a little electric shock she came back.

Aisha-Maldives said...

Oh,wow.Thats amazing.Could be V-tach or are they really seperate heart attacks?

Dr. Emer said...

Hello, Eye! It is a miracle, indeed.

Hello Path-Swede and Aisha-Maldives! I've written an email to the people concerned to check if those were V-tachs or unique cardiac arrests. I'll comment again on this once they reply. But if you've read the news reports, the specific count was for 28 unique heart attacks...thus the need for equally unique defibrillations.