Life vest shocks man back to life

July 23, 2012 4:53:19 PM PDT
A key device could save your life if you have heart problems. It's all in a vest that you wear. For one man, it jolted him back to life after his heart stopped.

"The life vest shocked me back to life," Gus Serna said.

Serna had a heart attack while driving his car.

"I drove from my cul-de-sac, 22 houses down my subdivision and I ended up in a yard and I as like, 'Where am I?' and that's when I woke up," he said.

He woke up because he was wearing a so-called life vest that has a defibrillator in it.

Serna had only had the life vest for six hours and had gotten in the car to go to the pharmacy when his heart stopped and the new vest shocked him back to life.

"If he had not had this life vest, he would have died and potentially hurt others in the process," Serna's doctor, Dr. Alexander Dritil, said.

Serna is grateful others weren't hurt.

"I didn't hit anybody and I didn't hit any vehicles," he said.

"It was blue. It had already exploded but yeah, if he didn't have that vest we wouldn't be talking about this right now. So the vest is an amazing thing," Serna's cousin Itsa Ramos said.

His doctor has used the vest with about 150 patients and says it's saved four or five of them. The vest is a temporary way to protect heart patients after surgery. Serna wore it after stent surgery.

"Patients are still at risk and some of us feel that certain patients are more at risk than others and that's when this life vest, like this, is an ideal tool to help us protect them during that waiting period," Dr. Dritil said.

But after his close call a month ago, he had surgery to put in a permanent defibrillator and now he's doing well.

"You just come to realize how quickly life can pass and I'm grateful for just being here," Serna said.

Statistics show that some 60,000 people have worn the life vest on a temporary basis. And it's covered by most insurance.


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