AED shocks North Muskegon man back to life

NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WZZM) - It's a condition you may have and not even know it and it could cause sudden cardiac death.

Severe coronary heart disease doesn't always have symptoms and when your heart stops the only hope you have of surviving is getting a life saving shock.

An Automated External Defibrillator or AED nearby is the only reason why a North Muskegon man is alive today.

In February, Andy Blair was inside the Folkert Community Building in Norton Shores preparing for an event. "My daughter said there was some pizza in the snack shack and I was headed to go get something to eat," and that is the last thing Andy Blair remembered for three days.

His wife Cindy Blair remembers the day well. "Actually, according to the physicians they tell us that he died at that moment."

Despite passing his physical just a few months earlier, Andy Blair had suffered sudden cardiac death. "I ask the doctors every time I see them 'why?' I felt fine. A couple minutes before that I was out shoveling snow."

Dr. Mark Meengs a cardiologist with Mercy Health's West Shore Cardiology diagnosed Andy with five blocked arteries. "This artery goes to one side of the heart and it's completely stumped off. See that it's completely blocked off."

Dr. Meengs says 15% of severe coronary heart disease patients like Andy never show symptoms. One day, their heart just stops. "You've got about five minutes from the time your heart stops to the time somebody restarts it where you can have a reasonable expectation of preserved brain function."

And the only way to restart your heart is by shocking it.

Andy was lucky, his son saw him go down right in the hallway and he immediately grabbed the AED. "They shocked him three times before it was effective," says Cindy.

Another twist to the story, Andy's wife Cindy was responsible for having the AED installed just a month prior through her job with Community Mental Health. "My job really was to get an AED for every single building that CMH occupies."

Dr. Meengs agrees that without the use of the AED Andy would not have survived. "The outcome is death. CPR buys you time it buys you some time to get the AED. Still important to get that shock from the AED that's the only thing that's going to turn this around."

Andy is now recovering from having five bypasses and is thankful for the device that helped to save his life. And thankful that he didn't miss his son's wedding just a two weeks later. The same son who shocked him back to life.


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