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Miracle patient defibrillated 18 times now encouraging heart health

Saved after being clinically dead for 2 minutes
James Middleton
Posted at 1:36 PM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 16:10:30-05

TAMPA, Fla. — As February, American Heart Month comes to an end; one heart attack patient wanted to share his story to possibly help someone else.

Staff at AdventHealth Wesley Chapel said James Middleton is a miracle patient. Middleton had a heart attack at the end of January and his doctor said they took life-saving measures to a level he’s never seen throughout his career.

“When I first got up that morning, I felt fine like usual. Within minutes I was getting light-headed and I thought, ‘what is going on?’” said Middleton.

He said he then developed cold sweats and shortness of breath. So he went to find his wife and told her she had to take him to the hospital. Middleton believed he was having a heart attack.

“I looked at one of the doctors [at AdventHealth Wesley Chapel] and he’s just staring at me. He says, ‘he just went white,’” said Middleton.

He said shortly after that he doesn’t remember a thing until he woke up in his hospital room.

Dr. Yazan Alkhouri, MD was part of the team that treated Middleton. What Middleton doesn’t remember are the incredible lifesaving measures the staff performed.

“What was really interesting is we had to shock him 18 times during the procedure. I lost count. As far as I remember over the last 13 years of me doing this, I haven't done 18 defibrillations,” said Dr. Alkhouri.

“Hearing about it after the fact and hearing that I was actually dead for two minutes and the doctor wouldn’t quit…explains why my chest was so sore,” said Middleton.

Dr. Alkhouri expressed how lucky Middleton was and said he made it to the hospital just in time.

“If people feel iffy or if you have any kind of chest pain…something you have never felt before…call 911. That will be your best bet to get you to the hospital where we can treat you safely,” said Dr. Alkhouri.

Middleton now echoes that advice, to call 911, and not attempt to drive to the hospital yourself.

“Get to the hospital now. I think if I had waited any longer, I would have been out like a light on the floor,” said Middleton. “I don’t know about being a miracle patient, but I have a miracle doctor. He was the hero.”

Dr. Alkhouri encourages everyone to know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and to also understand some people, especially women, will have different sensations that may include nausea, abdominal pain, feeling tired, starting to sweat, back/shoulder pain, and arm numbness. Read more about the symptoms here.