Doctors still can’t explain how a 37-year-old Boulder man survived after his heart stopped for nearly 15 minutes in August.
Somerset McCarty was about to turn out of his driveway at 7:44 a.m. the morning of Aug. 5 when, without any warning, he went into cardiac arrest.
“Essentially, I died,” Somerset said.
Slumped over his steering wheel half-way out of his driveway, one passerby called 911 and kept driving.
Bart McCoy also saw Somerset while driving by that morning. He kept going but quickly turned around.
“I had a tug in my heart that said ‘go back, there’s something wrong,’” Bart said.
With the help of a bicyclist who also stopped, he pulled lifeless Somerset from the truck.
He was extremely pale, with blue lips and no heartbeat or pulse. Bart immediately began performing CPR.
“I was praying out loud while I was doing CPR,” Bart said. “I said ‘God, if this man has a mission – bring him back. But if you want him to go, let him go.’” Six minutes later, help arrived.
Responding paramedics had trouble restarting Somerset’s heart. They shocked him twice, with no response. When they gave him a shot of epinephrine and shocked him a third time, his heart finally started to beat.
By this time, Somerset had been without a pulse for 13 minutes and 44 seconds, according to police reports.
Doctors say he should have suffered massive brain damage after 5 minutes.
Somerset was rushed to the Boulder Community Hospital, where cardiologist Dr. Jamie Doucet and his team tended to him. Doucet placed him in a medically induced coma for three days. He was also given hypothermic treatment to prevent further brain damage.
Right before waking up in the ICU, Somerset said he received a message from his brother who died six years earlier.
“Somerset, this is your time,” he said his brother told him. “Enjoy your life, you have a lot to look to forward to.”
He woke up from his coma and had a defibrillator placed in his heart.
On Aug, 11, Somerset walked out of the hospital with no signs of brain damage.
He was supposed to meet up with the man who helped save in life in September, but the devastating floods hit the weekend of the reunion. Somerset instead spent his time frantically pumping water out of the basement of his Boulder Creek home.
Still wanting to meet his Good Samaritan, Somerset devised a way to give back to the person who saved him.
“I’m thankful for Bart,” he said. And what better way to show that thanks than on the week of the holiday dictated to that feeling.
So Somerset, who installs lights, went down to Bart’s Parker home to install his Christmas lights for the holiday season.
“It was beautiful,” Bart said of the display.
Bart still maintains he only did what anyone else would have done that day back in August.
A Mississauga man credits a CPR course he took in September with helping him save his wife when her heart stopped last week.
Brian Andrade said his wife Chantelle Lavallee collapsed on the evening of Nov. 20, immediately after putting their newborn son in his bassinet.
Lavallee started feeling dizzy and then fell back and hit her head on the ground. Andrade started CPR when he realized her airways were constricted and she was turning blue. He stopped only to call 911.
“I told them, ‘Please send somebody. My wife, she’s not breathing,” Andrade said from the Credit Valley Hospital.
When paramedics arrived minutes later, they used a defibrillator to revive Lavallee, who had gone into cardiac arrest.
“The doctor and the paramedics had said if [Andrade] hadn’t reacted and done what he had done, the outcome would not be the way it was, period,” she said.
“I would have been dead.”
Only weeks earlier, when Lavallee was still pregnant, the couple had taken a crash course in infant CPR, which included 10 minutes on techniques for adults.
It was a fundraiser for Jesse Arrigo whose mother used CPR to save him after he fell into a backyard pond in May 2012 when he was 10 months old. He went 55 minutes without oxygen and still needs treatment not covered by OHIP.
“I thank the whole world I took Jesse’s class,” Andrade said. “It was all because of Jesse. He was my inspiration.”
SHARON Cura and her husband, Dan, feared their two-year-old grandson Beau had died after he suddenly stopped talking and slumped to the floor, his face an ashen grey.
The couple had watched him chattering away to his mother Hayley on the phone while enjoying his lunch of roast chicken pieces, and one of them got stuck in his throat.
Luckily nursery manager Sharon, 50, from Birkhill, Fife, instantly knew what to do – and what she must never do. She had completed a Paedriatrics first aid course for her job, and had also taken the full First Aid At Work course with St Andrews in Dundee.
“You’re taught to put the child’s head to the floor and to use the heel of your hand to deliver four hard slaps between the shoulder blades to dislodge the foreign body, but even though I was thumping his back repeatedly with my fist, at one point I thought it wasn’t working and he wasn’t coming back,” she said.
“It’s really difficult to do that to a wee child and especially one of your own. I didn’t want to hurt him yet I felt I was breaking him. Doing it in real life is different from learning it in class and it’s terrifying, but you have to hold your nerve.”
Weybread resident Nick Tibbenham, 50, suffered a heart attack at his home in Church Street on January 25.
Nick Tibbenham (centre left) the Survivor, Steve Hammond & Graeme Seaman the Saviours
Mr Tibbenham’s wife Jo and son Toby, both first aid trained, initiated CPR at the scene, while Toby’s girlfriend Evie Rogers went outside the home to direct the community first responders in.
Steve Hammond and Graham Seaman, of the Waveney Valley Responders, were called to action while the ambulance was on route, providing vital care which helped save Mr Tibbenham’s life.
Mr Tibbenham said: “I was extremely lucky. My wife and son started CPR on me before Steve and Graham got there with the defibrillator. If any one of those elements had not been available I would not be here.
“They give up their own free time. I just felt I wanted to thank them in some way.
The defibrillator, which cost more than £2,000 and was fitted in early October, has been placed at the Harleston Magpies Hockey Club, in Weybread, which is available for public use.
It was after his near death experience that Mr Tibbenham, alongside hockey club vice-president Rosemary Mason, sought donations to provide the life-saving equipment. Money was donated by the hockey club’s vice presidents, Grainseed Ltd of Eye, Protein Feeds of Saxmundham, as well from the trustees of the local Deans Trust.
Mr Hammond was at the club on Saturday to provide demonstrations on how to use the defibrillator to members of the hockey club.
Mr Hammond, of Metfield Road, Fressingfield, organised the event and told the Diss Express: “It is really nice to see him (Nick) up and about – he is getting his life back on track. After what he had been through he was very, very grateful.
“In situations like that the first few minutes are crucial. For every minute someone is not breathing it is a ten per cent less chance of surviving,” he said.
It is not the only successful response for Mr Hammond and Mr Seaman, who also saved the life of a lady in Fressingfield in March.
“I would encourage people to be first responders but equally I think it is really important people learn a bit of first aid.”