Survivor Stories

Survivor Stories

A Walk to Work Ends With a Miracle

Michael McKee, Minneapolis, MN – 58 at time of event (2008)

Michael McKee

Michael struggles to maintain a healthy weight. He is committed to it. So much so that he walks the four miles or so to work and back each day. It’s quite pleasant, along the Mississippi river, past the University of Minnesota, and the University Hospital. “It was a morning like any other. I don’t remember any of the details.” Michael explained that the river is about 3/4 mile from home, and he was found on the river walk by a doctor riding to work on his bicycle.
“Initially, it was reported that he saw me go down, gave me CPR until the ambulance got there,” Michael said mysteriously. He understands the EMTs had to shock him several times to get a rhythm started, and transported him to the Hennepin County Medical Center. Since it was classified as a witnessed arrest this Level 1 Trauma Centre treated him with the hyperthermia protocol.

She’s Not Joking

Anne Duffy, Moorestown, NJ – 37 at time of event (2007)

It was a stressful week in early December, and their son’s fifth birthday party had taken it’s toll. They were relaxing on the sofa together, after dinner. Anne felt dizzy and some nausea. She started to say “I think I’m going to pass out,” but didn’t get that far. David felt her fall into his lap.
“He thought I was joking around. He’d been teasing me that I had been really tired for a couple of weeks before. We were going to rent a movie or something.” But Anne was not kidding around, she was dying.

A Coach With a New Career

Dale Wakasugi, St Paul, MN – 49 at time of event (2007)

It all started in Seattle sometime in 1995. Dale was a victim of his heredity, and not a traditional Japanese one. Working in the pharmaceutical industry he was only 36 years old, and yet he suffered a heart attack. Technically known as an MI (Myocardial Infarction) it was caused by a blockage of his LAD (Left Anterior Descending artery). He had been a very active, non-drinker, non-smoker who played college baseball. The blockage wasn’t severe enough to warrant a stent, so diet and exercise were prescribed. Dale moved to Minnesota for his job and regularly visited his cardiologist, undergoing annual stress tests which he passed every time.

Let Me Go By Myself First

Kim Zalepa, Interlaken, NJ – 40 at time of event (2008)

Kim Zalepa It was their first skiing trip with the kids. Kim was feeling nervous, almost like a novice, since she hadn’t been skiing for over a decade. They’d had two daughters in eight years and felt it was time to enjoy a day in the snow that March. Kim and her husband,Todd, took the girls to Shawnee mountain in Pennsylvania for what they thought would be a day trip.

An Abrupt End To Lunch

Larry Osborn, Pueblo, CO – 60 at time of event (2008)

Every Monday they get together for a business related lunch. For fifteen years Larry had been a reliable lunch partner. But, on the third Monday of January, 2008 Larry walked out on them. He didn’t say anything, he just left. He got in the car and drove away. Then he crashed it into a parked truck, at around 30 mph. Lucky for him, someone saw it all and called 9-1-1.


Driveway Desperation

Rick Mylin, Warsaw, IN – 45 at time of event (2008)

A big box hardware store was nearly the end of Rick. It was a Saturday afternoon, and while RIck doesn’t remember anything about it, his wife said she’d called him to ask if he was OK. He’d indicated earlier that he wasn’t feeling well. Jo Lynn noticed Rick sounded odd.
“She asked all the questions, ‘pain here, pain there’ but the only thing I said was it felt like I’d pulled a muscle in my shoulder.” She suggested he come home and take a rest. Good thing he did.

Pulled Out The Whistle

Drew White, Michigan City, IN – 29 at time of event (2007)

Drew White

I was asked by a friend in the summer of 2007 if I might be interested in officiating YMCA basketball games over the winter. Not having officiated a basketball game since I was in college over seven years ago, I thought about it and thought it might be fun to pull out the whistle and have a go at it. The exercise, not to mention the money, would be good for me.

Shallow Water Blackout

Erick Itoman, Pittsburgh, PA – 33 at time of event (2006)

Erick Itoman

On May 13, 2006, I suffered what is known as “shallow water blackout.”
At the time of the accident, I was in the middle of an Internal Medicine Resident at the University of Hawaii. There were three of us that day. Greg Sakamoto an Internal Medicine Prelim Resident (whom is now doing Dermatology at Harvard), Kalani, an experienced diver (friend of Greg), and me.

A Determined Chef Who Can't Stay Down

Doug Chrisman, 18, Hyde Park, NY – 18 at time of event (2008)

Doug ChrismanMonday morning, 7:30am, Doug was busy skimming the stock in preparation for that day’s class. The stock didn’t make it. Doug did. His classmates at the CIA (The Culinary Institute of America that is) saw the freshman from Missouri collapse, and one of them ran to get the nurse. The chef called the Safety Office and an AED was immediately brought to the scene. Doug was unresponsive and his pulse had disappeared, his face was turning blue — they only had minutes before he would die.

This Randonnée Is Not Finished

Todd Black, Seattle, WA – 56 at time of event (2008)

Todd is an avid Randonneur, that is he likes to get on his bicycle and leave town for an extended trip. This is called a Randonnée, which is a French word that means excursion or long journey. Randonneurs do not compete exactly, they think of it as more a test of endurance, self-sufficiency and developing their bicycle touring skills. Just the pronunciation is difficult enough, let alone cycling over several hundred miles in a specified time period!

One Sunday morning last month, Marty, Todd’s wife, got a phone call to say he had fallen off his bike. She put her head down on her desk and cried. This was the second time she had received a call from the paramedics. That first time it had been nearly midnight in Spring, and she learned that, although Todd hadn’t broken any bones, he had suffered some serious damage. This time she expected something bad had happened, but not this bad.

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