Six months ago, Larry Goss, 44, of Apopka, was getting in an early workout at a local gym with his friend Juan Calix-Hernandez. As the pair were walking on treadmills, Larry collapsed. “It was scary. We were talking about World Cup soccer and he just dropped,” recalls Juan. As Larry turned blue, Juan began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
A TRAINED BYSTANDER
Chris Buelvas, MD, a first-year resident physician with AdventHealth’s Family Medicine Residency program at Winter Park Memorial Hospital, a Florida.
Hospital, was at the gym that day, too. When he spotted Larry on the ground, he immediately ran to help.
Noticing Larry’s blue lips, Dr. Buelvas took over CPR and yelled for an automated external defibrillator (AED), a portable device that checks the heart’s rhythm and can administer shocks to restore normal rhythm.
After assessing Larry, Dr. Buelvas administered a shock to restore Larry’s heartbeat. No response. More CPR followed, and a second shock yielded a faint pulse. But Larry was still unconscious. As Dr. Buelvas continued CPR, paramedics arrived and transported Larry to AdventHealth Altamonte.
FIGHTING FOR LIFE
Juan and Dr. Buelvas met the medical team in the emergency department and provided as many details as possible to aid in Larry’s treatment.
As the team worked to save him, an electrocardiogram (EKG) suggested decreased blood flow, indicating a blockage. Rajesh Shah, MD, interventional cardiologist, rushed Larry to the catheterization lab where fellow interventional cardiologist Nipon Arora, MD, performed a diagnostic angiogram to obtain detailed images of Larry’s heart anatomy.
Dr. Arora noticed multiple artery blockages from coronary heart disease that required repair by emergency coronary bypass surgery. So, he quickly made the arrangements with Kevin Accola, MD, a cardiovascular surgeon.
Larry was transported via AdventHealth's Florida Flight 1 air ambulance, and his surgery took place immediately upon arrival.
A MIRACLE OF SURVIVAL
“Larry suffered sudden cardiac death at the gym,” explains Dr. Shah. “Essentially, his heart went into an abnormal electrical rhythm because of blocked arteries, causing him to have no oxygen or blood supply to his heart muscle.”
The road to recovery will take time, but Larry has already resumed his workouts at the gym.
“I’m told it’s a miracle I survived,” says Larry, who plans to become a certified personal trainer. “I want to make sure others understand the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.”