Fifty-two-year old police officer Ken Kirby experienced severe chest and arm pain while putting away Christmas decorations. His wife Tina called 911 and an emergency crew rushed Ken to Oconee Medical Center in Seneca, South Carolina. Emergency room physician Edwin Leap was waiting with his team.
As Ken was being treated for pain, he had a massive heart attack CBN reported.
Dr. Leap says, “He has heart rhythms that aren’t consistent with life. He gets shocked. He gets shocked repeatedly. In between shocks, he’s getting CPR. He’s getting resuscitation, drugs, epinephrine, or adrenaline.
He’s getting lidocaine for the heart rhythm. He’s getting magnesium. We give him thrombotic drugs, and he’s still in cardiac arrest. This goes on and on and on with what I counted 11 episodes of defibrillation.”
Tina was by her husband’s side until he went into cardiac arrest and she was asked to leave. She says, “I’m taken back out of the room into a hallway that’s filled with 50 plus people. Pastor, friends, church family, related family, my children, and everyone starts gathering around and we start praying, I mean praying.”
Dr. Leap says, “We aren’t getting pulses. In the process of this, this looks grim. People don’t survive heart attacks with this prolong resuscitation, because he’s not getting oxygen to his heart. He’s not getting adequate oxygen to his brain [and] his kidneys.”
Dr. Leap told Tina that Ken probably wouldn’t survive. Tina was devastated by the news especially since she and Ken had been arguing for days.
“I’m looking at Dr. Leap, and I’m looking at my pastor who’s right by me. I say, ‘Okay, how do I tell him I’m sorry now?’ I don’t get to take any of that back. He’s gone. I’m begging, pleading and looking into the faces of my two children.
They’ve just lost their daddy. Nothing will ever be the same,” Tina says.
Dr. Leap says: “During the resuscitation, we’re working. Nothing’s working. Tina has already been in. The whole family and I looked at the staff and said, ‘We need to pray about this.’
There was no moment. We dropped to our knees, and there was no moment that we stopped doing anything, but I know they did.”
Over 45 minutes passed. Ken still didn’t have a pulse. Then finally…
“We’ve got a pulse,” Dr. Leap recalls. “I go back in. We take the bedside ultrasound machine and see he has some cardiac activity. A little pump, not a lot, but he’s got something.”
Tina recalls, “I believe that was the moment when God heard all those prayers from the waiting room and reached down and touched.”
Dr. Leap and his team did everything they could before sending Ken to a Greenville Area Hospital for emergency surgery.
Dr. Leap says, “Ken’s as stable as we’re going to get him. He goes to Greenville, and we’re glad that we’ve had some success. We’re thankful and excited, but really, a lot of us have done this for a long time. We’re not holding out a lot of hope for a good outcome. We’re just not.”
Family and friends continued to pray as surgeons worked for three hours to remove a blockage in Ken’s heart. Afterward the only thing to do was wait.
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According to Today.com doctors operated on the main artery to Kirby’s heart, which had a 93 percent blockage. And just one hour after surgery, the man who had been pronounced dead was sitting up in his hospital bed and greeting his family.
“We can’t draw back on those feelings anymore,” she said. “I guess it’s been so much since then, we’ve tried to sit down and go, ‘OK, can I feel what I felt then?’ and we can’t. There’s a lot we don’t even remember.”
Kirby says he is making the most of his second chance at life. He’s kicked his cigarette habit and cut down on his large intake of caffeine.
More importantly for wife Tina, she has a second chance at telling her husband how much she loves him. She says the couple had always talked their way through any issues in their 33-year marriage, but in the days before Ken’s heart attack, the pair had been quarreling.