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Eric van Die survived five cardiac arrests in one day: ‘One minute you’re fine, the next you’re almost dead’

20 January 2017

He suffered a cardiac arrest five times in one day. Thanks to the quick actions of his wife and physician, then 45-year-old Eric van Die survived. The quicker the resuscitation, the better. Eric knows that more than anybody. He tells Stan The CPR Network his story.

Gasping

I was on my way to my construction company in the morning when I suddenly didn’t feel right. I had the feeling that I was having a massive adrenaline rush. It sort of felt like a panic attack. I turned around and went home, where I got into bed to try and recover. There my wife saw I turned deathly pale. She alerted the physician who arrived in haste. When the doctor arrived, I lost consciousness and started to ‘gasp’. The physician recognised the symptoms of cardiac arrest and immediately started resuscitation.

Five cardiac arrests

The ambulance arrived soon after. The ambulance staff defibrillated me, causing my heart to come back. But then I suffered another cardiac arrest. And once in the ambulance, a third one. In total, I suffered cardiac arrest five times that day. In the hospital it turned out that my coronary artery was closed, shutting off the blood supply. I was given an angioplasty and a stent was placed.

Nearly died

One minute you’re fine, and the next you’re almost dead. It’s such a surreal idea. Had my wife been out at the time, maybe just to drop the kids off at school, I wouldn’t be here. Because she wouldn’t have been able to call the physician. I had never before had heart problems. Cardiovascular disease also doesn’t run in my family. Every year, my wife, my two daughters and my son and I celebrate the day I survived.

Resuscitation training

I am forever grateful to the people around me for their resolute actions. I wanted to be able to do that when others are in need. That is why I signed up as a first responder. I had to learn to resuscitate, so I took resuscitation training. Now I’m ready for other people when I am called in by Stan the CPR Network.

AED

It wasn’t particularly easy for me to take the training. Because for a long time, I couldn’t stand the sound of an ambulance, the sound of a flat line, or the charging of an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). This is strange, because I didn’t actually hear those sounds, as I was unconscious at the time. But it still had an enormous impact on me. However, since I pushed the button during training, my fears are gone. It’s good to know that I can now help someone in need.