His Quick Actions Clearly Saved My Life, and Possibly My Intellect

His Quick Actions Clearly Saved My Life, and Possibly My Intellect

Gary Schiller and Sherif Badawy
2017 Nominee – Sherif Badawy, MD
Survivor – Gary Schiller, MD, Los Angeles, CA, 56 at time of event (December 6, 2015)

Location of Event – 5K Run in Orlando, FL

Please accept my nomination of Sherif Badawy, MD, Attending Physician, Hematology/Oncology; Instructor of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Sherif was among 900 individuals participating in a 5K run around the perimeter of the Orlando Convention center at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology on December 6, 2015. I was also in the crowd, as Vice-Chair of the Foundation Committee for the Society. 

We were running to raise funds to support the society’s educational and research grants that help train and support young individuals who are trying to enter, or sustain, a career in the treatment of diseases of the blood and bone marrow. Sherif had been a fellow on our Trainee Council when I was the Chair of our Committee on Training.

As luck would have it, he, and some of my colleagues, were at about the same place in the race when I got really tired and had to move to the side of the track to lie down near some bushes. There, without chest pain or shortness of breath, I found that I couldn’t get up. After that, I lost consciousness and apparently sustained a cardiac arrest.

Having been paranoid about such a thing already, since I lost a friend of mine 10 years before to the same, I had undergone all sorts of noninvasive cardiac testing from stress ECHOcardiogram to two coronary calcium scans, multiple blood tests, and ECGs. All had been fine, and I maintained a three-time-a-week jogging schedule.

Notwithstanding the above, I had a “silent” myocardial infarction due to a fresh, nearly occlusive clot in the left anterior descending coronary artery. Following my V-Fib (ventricular fibrillation) arrest, Sherif initiated CPR, and was joined by many others. Someone had the presence of mind to run into the convention center, somehow found an AED, gave me five shocks, and these actions saved my life. When I came to, I couldn’t see, but somehow that didn’t bother me. After a time, a cardiologist whom I never saw again, performed a catheterization and stented my coronary artery.

Sherif and the others who resuscitated me were quite shaken by the experience. It took me awhile to be psychologically affected by it too, when I realized I could have left a widow and two elementary school-aged children.

Sherif takes care of children with cancer and blood diseases every day, but probably doesn’t have to resuscitate middle-aged people too often, much less someone he knows. The quick action of Sherif, and the help of many others, clearly saved my life, and probably saved my intellect...although others will need to confirm that.

Nominated by Gary Schiller, MD
 

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