Man's Life-Threatening Heart Condition Corrected When Ambulance Hits Pothole

Man's Life-Threatening Heart Condition Corrected When Ambulance Hits Pothole
Stock image of a pothole. (Odejacob/Pixabay)
Venus Upadhayaya

In a rare case, a Nebraska man's life was saved on April 15 when his ambulance hit a pothole and his dangerously paced heartbeat returned to normal.

The incident happened when Gretna paramedics rushed a 59-year-old man with a life-threatening heartbeat to the hospital, reported 6 News.

The ambulance had traveled 7 miles and was 20 miles away from the Lakeside Hospital when it hit a pothole. At one point during the journey, the man's heartbeat had hit a dangerous rate of 200 beats per minute.

"It's rare, but it's a well-described phenomenon," Nebraska Medicine's Dr. Andrew Goldsweig told 6 News. Goldsweig was not in the ambulance and was not the physician in the case but helped 6 News understand the rare phenomenon.

"One way to treat that is with an electrical shock. Classically, you'll see it on television. The paddles, 'Clear' and a big jolt. Turns out, you can do that with a pothole," Goldsweig said.

He said that he had heard of a similar case where a speedbump jolted a man back to a normal heartbeat in the 1970s.

What Causes Rapid Heartbeat?

Abnormal heartbeat is called arrhythmia and it is dangerous because it can prevent normal circulation of the blood to the heart and brain.
It can be cured by procedures called cardioversion, according to

When treated with drugs it's called chemical cardioversion. Doctors can also treat it by sending an electric shock to the heart (electrical cardioversion).

In the case of electrical cardioversion, patients are put to sleep so that they don't feel the shock.

Facts About Potholes

In this rare medical case, the pothole was a blessing and saved a man's life, however, potholes also cause accidents, deaths, and economic damages.

Potholes are caused by wear and tear to the road by water, freezing, and excessive heat. The areas most prone to potholes are those with poor drainage and where the vehicular traffic is high.

Every individual motorist in the United States needs to spend $377 annually on vehicle repairs due to potholes, according to

The cost of bad roads to businesses in the country between 2012 to 2022 is estimated to be $240 billion. says that failure to spend $1 in road repair results in a cost of $7 after five years.

Venus Upadhayaya reports on wide range of issues. Her area of expertise is in Indian and South Asian geopolitics. She has reported from the very volatile India-Pakistan border and has contributed to mainstream print media in India for about a decade. Community media, sustainable development, and leadership remain her key areas of interest.