Saved from death: Boulder man survives nearly 15 minutes without pulse, gives back to lifesaver

12:28 PM, Nov 29, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA - Doctors still can't explain how a 37-year-old Boulder man survived after his heart stopped for nearly 15 minutes in August.

Somerset McCarty was about to turn out of his driveway at 7:44 a.m. the morning of Aug. 5 when, without any warning, he went into cardiac arrest.  

"Essentially, I died," Somerset said.

Slumped over his steering wheel half-way out of his driveway, one passerby called 911 and kept driving.  

Bart McCoy also saw Somerset while driving by that morning. He kept going but quickly turned around.

"I had a tug in my heart that said 'go back, there's something wrong,'" Bart said.

With the help of a bicyclist who also stopped, he pulled lifeless Somerset from the truck.

He was extremely pale, with blue lips and no heartbeat or pulse. Bart immediately began performing CPR.

"I was praying out loud while I was doing CPR," Bart said. "I said 'God, if this man has a mission - bring him back. But if you want him to go, let him go.'"  Six minutes later, help arrived.

Responding paramedics had trouble restarting Somerset's heart. They shocked him twice, with no response. When they gave him a shot of epinephrine and shocked him a third time, his heart finally started to beat.

By this time, Somerset had been without a pulse for 13 minutes and 44 seconds, according to police reports.  

Doctors say he should have suffered massive brain damage after 5 minutes.

Somerset was rushed to the Boulder Community Hospital, where cardiologist Dr. Jamie Doucet and his team tended to him. Doucet placed him in a medically induced coma for three days. He was also given  hypothermic treatment to prevent further brain damage.

Right before waking up in the ICU, Somerset said he received a message from his brother who died six years earlier.

"Somerset, this is your time," he said his brother told him. "Enjoy your life, you have a lot to look to forward to."

He woke up from his coma and had a defibrillator placed in his heart.

On Aug, 11, Somerset walked out of the hospital with no signs of brain damage.

He was supposed to meet up with the man who helped save in life in September, but the devastating floods hit the weekend of the reunion. Somerset instead spent his time frantically pumping water out of the basement of his Boulder Creek home.

Still wanting to meet his Good Samaritan, Somerset devised a way to give back to the person who saved him.

"I'm thankful for Bart," he said. And what better way to show that thanks than on the week of the holiday dictated to that feeling.

So Somerset, who installs lights, went down to Bart's Parker home to install his Christmas lights for the holiday season.

"It was beautiful," Bart said of the display.   

Bart still maintains he only did what anyone else would have done that day back in August. 

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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