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Man Who Suffered Two Heart Attacks In One Day Saved By Wife's Love For Medical Dramas

Man Who Suffered Two Heart Attacks In One Day Saved By Wife's Love For Medical Dramas

Michelle Birnie-Mackintosh was able to recognise that her husband Greg was experiencing symptoms of a heart attack

A dad-of-four who suffered two heart attacks in just one night was saved by his wife’s passion for medical dramas on TV - her knowledge helping him survive against two percent odds. 

Michelle Birnie-Mackintosh was able to recognise that her husband Greg was experiencing symptoms of a heart attack when he started vomiting and complaining of chest pains and tingling in his hands, and called for an ambulance.

She said: “I came down stairs and he was just sitting there. He said he didn’t feel well, and his skin was almost silver and translucent, and he was cold and clammy. 

"I asked him how his hands felt and he said they felt tingly and his chest was tight between his shoulders, and then he was sick. 

“We watch a lot of 999 programmes like What’s Your Emergency and 24 Hours in A and E and all of them definitely paid off because I knew he was having a heart attack and called 999.” 

Michael Traill

Michelle, 36, was told that no ambulances were available, and half-an-hour later Greg, 50, suffered a second heart attack.

A first responder arrived at their home and - by chance - an ambulance that had been passing after another call then turned down their road to help. However, with no trolley inside the ambulance to transport Greg, 50, they had to wait.

When he was finally en route to hospital two hours later, Greg had to be shocked back to life with a defibrillator when he suffered three cardiac arrests.

Michelle continued: “A defibrillator [in the ambulance] saved my husband’s life. Without it, I would be planning his funeral. 

“When I phoned for an ambulance they said there weren’t any available and they would be with me as soon as they could. 

“There is a defibrillator at the pub but if he had the cardiac arrest at home I wouldn’t have had time to go and get it and come back. It would have been too late. 

“By having two more in the village it will hopefully mean everyone will be able to get to one in time.” 

Michael Traill

Greg, from Premnay in Aberdeenshire, spent the next two weeks in intensive care in a coma and was fitted with a balloon pump in his heart to improve blood flow. He also suffered with delirium - convinced he had to learn lines for his role as an extra in Harry Potter - and sepsis.

But thankfully, he managed to survive against two percent odds, and is now recovering at home with his family.

Michelle, meanwhile, is now raising money to buy similar life-saving devices in their area to help anyone who suffers a cardiac arrest at home.

In a bittersweet twist, while Greg was still fighting for his life in Glasgow, Michelle received a call saying she had won £10,000 in cash and a £335,000 house in a competition.

Having used some of those winnings to fund a £3,000 defibrillator, she is currently fundraising for another two.

Michelle said: “They really do save lives. I don’t think enough people understand that. If you have a cardiac arrest your heart has literally stopped and that’s when you need to use it.” 

Michael Traill

Greg's family were warned that he could emerge from his coma in a 'vegitative state', but he was able to return home last week to begin his recovery.

Michelle says her husband still gets tired and that his short term memory 'comes and goes', but believes 'it will just take time'.

She added: “I’m just glad he’s home as himself and not just a fraction of who he was. I don’t know how I would have coped with that. 

“He didn’t know who I was when they took him out of the coma. But he does now and that’s the main thing. 

“The odds of him coming out of three cardiac arrests was only two percent and, if you’re in a coma for two or more weeks, the chances are you come out in a vegitative state. So to come out of all that almost unscathed is unbelievable.” 

Featured Image Credit: Michael Traill

Topics: UK News