‘Dead’ man re­cov­ers for his birth­day

The Southland Times - - WORLD -

UNITED STATES: No-one knows why John Og­burn’s heart stopped beat­ing for more than half an hour dur­ing a rather un­event­ful af­ter­noon in a cafe in North Carolina.

Equally con­fus­ing, to the po­lice who found the 35-year-old ly­ing ap­par­ently dead on the car­pet, is that he would wake again three days later and seem none the worse for wear, apart from some gaps in his short-term mem­ory.

The fact that his heart restarted and that he re­gained con­scious­ness days later has been cred­ited to two po­lice of­fi­cers.

They hap­pened to be nearby and rushed into the branch of Pan­era Bread in a shop­ping cen­tre on the out­skirts of Char­lotte.

One of them hap­pened to be a for­mer para­medic who started chest com­pres­sions im­me­di­ately. Lawrence Guiler had been called to a mi­nor in­ci­dent near the cafe when an alert went out that a man had suf­fered a car­diac ar­rest in­side.

‘‘I looked up and the Pan­era Bread is right there,’’ he said.

He be­lieves he be­gan ad­min­is­ter­ing CPR to Og­burn 30 sec­onds later.

A fel­low of­fi­cer, who hap­pened to have been sent out to an in­ci­dent in the cen­tre’s car park, ar­rived an­other 30 sec­onds af­ter Guiler, who con­tin­ued tak­ing turns to of­fer chest com­pres­sions with four fire­fight­ers who then ar­rived to open Og­burn’s air­ways, fit an oxy­gen mask and to use a de­fib­ril­la­tor.

Doc­tors were later told that eight shocks were ad­min­is­tered, along with five rounds of adren­a­line, be­fore a faint, er­ratic pulse be­gan beat­ing once more, 38 min­utes af­ter he be­gan re­ceiv­ing treat­ment.

They would gen­er­ally be con­cerned that any­one who went past 30 min­utes without a pulse would be at risk of se­vere brain dam­age, if they ever re­gained con­scious­ness. Yet Og­burn’s is pupils were re­spon­sive.

In in­ten­sive care, his body was cooled by sev­eral de­grees to slow his me­tab­o­lism and to al­low his body to re­cover, and then he was brought slowly out of se­da­tion three days later, on what was his 36th birth­day.

A week later he was able to thank the of­fi­cers who saved his life, and who did not give up for 38 min­utes.

He is now out of hos­pi­tal, with a small de­fib­ril­la­tor im­planted in his chest, in case his heart stops beat­ing again.

‘‘I’m pinch­ing my­self that all these things hap­pened that al­lowed me to still be here,’’ Og­burn said. – The Times


John Og­burn cel­e­brates his 36th birth­day in hos­pi­tal. Right, Og­burn was un­der se­da­tion as part of his re­cov­ery af­ter his heart stopped for half an hour. He awoke three days later.

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