By Sarah Casper
It’s truly a very rare thing to interview a survivor of cardiac arrest but I got this rare opportunity with a wonderful man named Scott….
It was end of the school year, June 2014. Scott, along with quite a few teachers from Paul Kane High School were celebrating the end of the year and the new position he was taking on in the fall with the district office. The evening passed with fun and well wishes. Scott was due back to work bright and early Saturday morning to mark English diploma exams.
At 1:30 am, life threw one of those big curveballs. Scott’s wife, Jo, came to bed and thought he was having a bad dream after making one strange noise. She tried to wake him up and discovered he wasn’t breathing. A panicked 9-1-1 call was made immediately and the dispatcher walked Jo through the steps of CPR. EMS arrived within minutes where they proceeded to use their defibrillator to attempt to restart his heart. After 2 attempts to shock they were able to get a weak heart rate. Scott was rushed to the Masankowski Heart institute in Edmonton. Two days later Scott woke up, said some choice words and begins the process of trying to figure out what happened to him and why.
Scott is a strange case because he didn’t have the risk factors normally associated with someone going into cardiac arrest. He smoked when he was much younger but gave it up nearly three decades ago. He didn’t have any family history or heart disease either. It was baffling for his cardiologist. Scott’s echocardiogram came up as “pristine,” a term the analyst who examined it never used. The best that they figured was that he had some sort of viral infection when he was around the age of 12 that left scar tissue on the back of his heart.
Today Scott is a very grateful man. He runs 3km every morning – not because he was told to but because it makes him feel stronger overall. He has no memory of the events that took place that night or the day that followed. He has an implanted pacemaker and defibrillator. He feels so lucky because had Jo not been at home or come to bed when she did, had she not recognized that he wasn’t breathing and called for immediate help, he would not be with us today. Jo was scheduled to go to Ecuador with students two days after this happened. A lucky man indeed.
A very special thank you to Scott Dodd for sharing your story with us.