The Goodhue miracle #AtoZChallenge

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
Goodhue is a tiny town in Minnesota. How tiny? Well, the population of the town is 1000 and they don't have traffic lights. That tiny. And yet, they performed a record in 2011 which goes against all medical logic and can truly be described as a miracle.

54 year old Howard Snitzer was walking out of a grocery store when he suffered a massive heart attack and collapsed on the sidewalk. Even as the store clerk called 911, the only other customer rushed out and started cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on Howard. Seeing him, several others from across the street came running to help.

Howard was not breathing and had no pulse. His heart was not beating and his body was entirely dependent on the CPR being given for blood to leave his heart and reach his vital organs.

As an anaesthesiologist who has been a part of hundreds of resuscitation attempts over the last decade, I know that some survive and some don't but even in an ICU set-up, we give up if we cannot restart the rhythm of the heart within an average of 30 minutes. In Goodhue, on that day, nobody gave up. 

20 people queued up and waited their turn in front of Snitzer, taking over chest compressions when the previous person grew tired. They performed CPR for a mind-boggling 96 minutes, until a rescue helicopter reached and successfully resuscitated Snitzer with a defibrillator. 10 days later, he was discharged from the hospital, fully recovered.

The folk of Goodhue just wanted to do everything possible to keep a man alive until help arrived. In doing so, they performed the 'longest, successful out-of-hospital resuscitation' documented in the world.

When 54 year old Howard Snitzer from the tiny town of Goodhue collapsed in front of store after suffering a massive heart attack, the nearest paramedic help was more than an hour away. For 96 minutes, 20 citizens of Goodhue stood in line on the streets and kept performing CPR non-stop on Howard till a rescue helicopter arrived. In what is considered the 'longest, successful out-of-hospital resuscitation' documented in the world, Howard survived.
Seen in this picture is Howard Snitzer meeting with the people of Goodhue who performed CPR for an hour and a half to keep him alive.

Author's note:

This is part of my #AtoZChallenge where I will be focusing on Real Life Heroes of Kindness and Compassion.
The list for this year's (2018) Heroes of Kindness can be found here.
Of course, I have been tracking these lovely human beings for years now and have found children as young as six years old and old women in their eighties from across the world who will restore your faith in humanity. You can find the entire list of Real-life Heroes of Kindness and Compassion here.

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Let me know what you think.

  1. That is an amazing record. It makes me wonder: did he recover completely? Or experience brain damage from oxygen shortage to the brain? I was so happy to read that there was a complete recovery, and it makes me wonder if doctors generally give up too soon or that the complete recovery would almost never happen.

  2. How well meaning collective effort can almost achieve a miracle ! Whoa ! Your first week was superb at A to Z
    Here from Second thoughts First

  3. This is super example of community living where each is concerned about the other. I am having a hard time getting it in my system that they all waited in line for their turn to perform CPR - wow!!!

    Guernsey Literary & Potato peel pie society #atozchallenge

  4. This was very inspiring .
    The miracle is the recovery and us knowing about it .Great featurw Dr.Roshan

  5. This is really an inspiring story. In India we always read of incidents where accident victims are left to bleed to die and here in Goodhue so many people tried to save him. Hats off.

  6. That's unbelievably inspiring, Roshan! That shows the magnanimity of those people who went all out to help a stranger.
    Each story of yours, this April, leaves me misty eyed and gives me goosebumps!

  7. Hats off to the villagers who rescued the ailing man with such a presence of mind..🙏✌️

  8. What a beautiful example of community brotherhood! Your posts are indeed making a lot of us believe in the motto of humanity first.

  9. This is unbelievable. So many people coming together for the same cause instantly is miraculous in itself. God sent may be.

  10. 96 minutes? WOW! I salute them.

  11. Wow! this is out of this world! Thanks for sharing this story, Roshan!

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