Even when Chris Hickey’s heart started beating again after 68 minutes, doctors still didn’t have much hope.
They feared that he would be dead when he was brought out of his coma.
However, lady luck was smiling on the 63-year-old, who suffered only a 6-day memory loss after a sudden heart attack stopped his heart, followed by a series of miraculous events.
Now that he has recovered, Hickey says he wants his amazing story to raise awareness of the condition known as “sudden adult death.”
Hickey works as the director of an HR company in Gloucestershire, where he lives with his wife, Sue Davies. It was Davies’s determination, which he believes kept him alive when he collapsed out of the blue in June.
His heart had stopped for nearly an hour, and paramedics were ready to give up trying to start it, when she insisted they try one more time.
“They said it was not looking good and we’re going to stop. She said, ‘Please, please, please’ and that she loved me, so they kept going,” he told the Mirror.
“There must be around 50 people who helped save my life, but right at the top of the pyramid is my wife.”
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Sue—absolutely no doubt,” he said.
Hickey spent two weeks recovering in a Bristol hospital before going home to Cheltenham. In a video posted online on Oct 11. he explains that he hopes his story will help spread the knowledge, which saved him only by sheer luck.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest, sometimes called “sudden adult death,” often comes without warning. In the high-profile case of 23-year-old footballer Fabrice Muamba, it came on the football pitch, stopping his heart for 78 minutes.
For Hickey, it struck as he was going to bed.
Davies said she was making a cup of tea when she heard “strange noises” coming from the bedroom. She found Hickey had collapsed.
Bizarrely, she knew just what to do, and was able to remain calm—because she happened to have read a magazine article about emergency response the night before.
She immediately phoned 999, and the operator began to tell her how to preform CPR.
She said, “They were just so clear, and I was so determined to do it.”
“I had every confidence with the guy on the phone. It just couldn’t be Chris’s time …, ” she told Gloucestershire Live.
“There’s no magic to it—you just have to do it. The important thing is that it starts straight away,” she said.
The emergency services then took over, 11 times trying to shock Hickey back to life, before Sue insisted on the 12th time that saved him.
Sixty-eight minutes had passed from the moment he collapsed when medics detected a weak pulse.
Hickey was flown by air ambulance to Bristol Royal Infirmary. He spent two weeks recovering before being discharged, together with a portable defibrillator.
Davies may have kept her cool during the dramatic events, but she said they began to experience the shock later, as Hickey came out of the coma.
“It’s like heightened life even though you are next to death. You see the best of life, which is loving, caring, giving, supportive, and you see the hardest bits, which are death, loneliness, despair. You have to work between those,” she told Gloucestershire Live.