Save Date: February 13, 2009
Vince Graziano knows all too well the mysterious omen of Friday the 13th. On Friday, February 13, 2009, he remembers that day started out like many others; he arrived at work shortly after heading to the gym for his daily swim. While sitting at his desk and talking to coworkers, Vince suffered SCA. Up to that point, he led an active lifestyle, cycling, exercising, swimming and following a reasonably healthy diet. "I thought I was doing all the right things and in relatively good shape, but apparently it wasn't enough," recalls Vince. Two of his colleagues, Richard Reynolds and Robert Hughes, immediately began CPR while others called 911 and alerted building personnel. Moments later Frank McLean, a building security agent, arrived with an AED and proceeded to place the pads and deliver a shock. EMTs arrived quickly thereafter and transferred Vince to NYU Medical Center where he received immediate hypothermic treatment.
Over the next few days Vince remained unconscious while doctors still tried to explain what caused the SCA. Vince soon experienced a Myocardial Infarction, and doctors quickly performed an emergency cardiac catheterization which showed that all coronary arteries were 90-100% blocked. Unable to place stents or do angioplasty, a surgeon was called in to perform an emergency triple bypass. "The surgeon informed my family and friends that this was my only hope and the chances of survival were 50%. Through God's grace I made it through the surgery and with each passing day improved."
After six days on a ventilator, Vince was extubated, and although he does not recall anything that happened, he was fortunate to have suffered no cognitive deficits whatsoever. He now participates in a cardiac rehab program and has since received an ICD.
"Without the courage and willingness of my coworkers and the building security staff to act quickly I would not be here today. My angels were surely out in full force, at the right place at the right time."
Like most SCA survivors, Vince had no prior signs or symptoms of heart problems. "Had this taken place an hour and a half earlier, I very well could have drowned in the pool," he remarked. The prior evening he was on a flight from Houston returning from a business trip.
Numerous medical professionals who have been involved in various stages of Vince's care remain awestruck at how he has managed to pull through, and all of them have attributed much of it to the quick action of his first responders.
Throughout the entire ordeal, Vince's outlook remains positive. "So much for bad luck on Friday the 13th!"