Circumstances help man survive cardiac emergency
Published Monday, June 6, 2011 4:18PM EDT
Benoit Richer, 33, is living proof that you can be both unlucky and lucky at the same time.
If it wasn't for a series of events, Richer could have lost it all.
Six weeks ago, he was performing in the choir at a Gatineau church when he felt faint. He experienced jaw pain, a tooth ache, chest pain and leg pain. He was having a cardiac emergency. His aorta, the main vessel that feeds blood to the body, essentially burst.
"I shouldn't be here right now, if it wasn't for a series of events," said Richer.
Luckily, the guest tenor performing with the choir that night was a skilled cardiac surgeon at the Ottawa Heart Institute. He recognized the symptoms and knew exactly what kind of treatment Richer needed.
"He had a constellation of symptoms that were unique," said Dr. Fraser Rubens.
"It could kill you instantaneously."
Rubens assessed Richer at the scene and then called the Gatineau hospital to give doctors there a head's up. When Richer arrived in hospital, doctors confirmed the diagnosis. He was then rushed to the Ottawa Heart Institute, where he got lucky again.
Dr. B.K. Lam is a cardiac surgeon who's not normally in the hospital at 5 a.m. Luckily for Benoit, it wasn't a normal morning.
"We were already in hospital at the time assessing another patient with a similar condition that didn't turn out, but we were there ready to receive him when he came from the referring hospital," Lam told CTV Ottawa. "He was certainly on the brink of death's door step if he wasn't treated."
The series of events that day helped Richer survive, proving that sometimes circumstances can work in your favour.
"It's just a miracle that I'm still here - my mom calls me her little miracle."
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Michael O'Byrne