Health Care Holidays

42-Year-Old Dad is Thankful to Be Alive

Chad and Deirdre Martinez

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At about 2 in the morning on November 13, Deirdre Martinez awoke to the sound of her husband, Chad, gasping for air. Alarmed, she turned on the lights to better assess what was happening. Chad stumbled out of bed and collapsed. Deirdre sprang into action and immediately called 911. She started chest compressions. Emergency services arrived at their Centennial home within 3 minutes, allowing Deirdre to take care of their two young children.

AdventHealth Littleton’s Role

EMS teams worked rapidly to stabilize Chad enough to transfer him to AdventHealth Littleton. When Deirdre arrived, a nurse gave her Chad’s wedding ring for safekeeping. Deirdre said she is forever grateful for that small gesture that meant so much.

The teams at AdventHealth Littleton worked diligently to stabilize Chad in the ICU. Trying a variety of methods, the team was able to get Chad’s heart rhythm under control for a few hours at a time before he would go back into cardiac arrest. Deirdre was amazed how the nursing teams worked seamlessly to get her husband’s heart rate normalized. Once a pacemaker was in place, Chad was stable enough to be taken by helicopter to AdventHealth Porter.

AdventHealth Porter’s Role

Upon arriving at AdventHealth Porter, surgical teams rushed Chad to the OR, where he was stabilized for the ablation surgery that followed. The stars aligned as four of our highly skilled electrophysiologists came in to operate on Chad.

It was noted that this type of ventricular arrhythmia is extremely rare, and their team only sees patients presenting with this complex of a case around once every four years — with a survival rate of about 8%.

The team of cardiologists agreed that Chad’s was one of the most complex arrhythmias they had ever seen. The surgical team knew that the surgery offered Chad his best chance of survival.

Once the team correctly identified the affected area, they immediately got Chad’s heart rhythm back to normal. Though the surgical team wasn’t certain Chad would survive, their perseverance paid off.

Life-Saving Measures

Between AdventHealth Littleton and AdventHealth Porter, many hours of chest compressions were provided as life-saving measures, along with more than 100 shocks.

“When a patient is shocked that many times, it’s assumed they have one and three-quarters feet in the grave. The surgery we performed on Chad is one of our team’s best cases,” said one of Chad’s care providers. Ablation surgeries typically last around two hours. Chad’s lasted nearly four.

The Road to Recovery

Following the surgery, Chad was taken off ECMO, and ventilation was removed 24 hours later. Although the neurological damage he suffered was unknown, his family and care team learned that his memory and mental function were not affected. His physical functioning continues to improve rapidly. This is nothing short of a miracle. Chad’s team was God’s hands and feet that day and it’s something to be celebrated and remembered for years to come.

“To know there are so many experts in one place, feels really good,” said Deirdre. “I fully believe in the power of prayer. The outpouring of support from our family, friends and the team here has meant the world to us.”

Family First

Chad’s two kids were at the forefront of what kept him fighting for his life. He thoroughly enjoyed savoring Thanksgiving at home with his family from near and far and looks forward to the rest of the holiday season.

“I can’t say enough wonderful things about the teams at both hospitals,” said Chad. “Everyone did what they needed to do and did it correctly. I don’t want to diminish the human factor of it all. So many skilled people had to do so many things perfectly. The miracle is that everyone came together at the right time with their expertise. That’s something I’m still trying to reconcile. It’s not just one thing lining up — it’s all the things lining up.”

Chad is looking forward to getting back to playing with his kids and watching their soccer games.

Family History

Chad has a family history of heart irregularities, but he wasn’t sure if he needed to have any genetic or additional testing done. Chad’s message to others is to investigate your health if you know you have a family history of medical problems that you can potentially prevent.

The Martinez family is forever grateful for the gift of having their husband, son and dad back home to celebrate this very special holiday season — together.

From the Bottom of Our Hearts

Special thanks to the incredible teams that provided care at AdventHealth Porter and AdventHealth Littleton as an integrated system that came together to give Chad Martinez new life.

To learn more about our network of cardiology care, visit us here. You deserve to feel whole.

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