I was dead for 50 minutes – doctors couldn’t believe I woke up unscathed: Remarkable recovery of man, 31, who spent five weeks in a coma after suffering two cardiac arrests at home

Photo of author
Written By Rivera Claudia

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur pulvinar ligula augue quis venenatis. 

A man who ‘died’ twice after his heart stopped for almost an hour has astounded doctors by miraculously recovering.

Ben Wilson, 31, from Barnsley, suffered a cardiac arrest at home last June.

Paramedics had to shock his heart 17 times to bring him back to life, with his heart technically stopping twice within 50 minutes. 

After being rushed to hospital for emergency surgery, Mr Wilson was put in a coma for five weeks to minimise injury to his brain from the temporary lack of oxygen.

Doctors repeatedly told his partner Rebekka Holmes that his outcome ‘did not look good’, with his family aware that his survival odds were slim. 

Doctors had little hope 31-year-old Ben Wilson who suffered a massive heart attack at home in June, would survive after paramedics were forced to shock him 17 times to get hi heart restarted

But in a miraculous turn of events Ben has made an almost full recovery and now back home, with he and his partner Rebekka Holmes now planning their wedding

But in a miraculous turn of events Ben has made an almost full recovery and now back home, with he and his partner Rebekka Holmes now planning their wedding 

Even if he did somehow pull through, Mr Wilson’s family was told he might end up in a vegetative state — similar to F1 legend Michael Schumacher.

Yet Mr Wilson, a traffic management operative, defied the odds and is now finally at home after his near-death ordeal. 

After painstakingly learning to walk and talk again, he’s now planning his wedding after he proposed to Miss Holmes in December. According to her, he only suffers from very slight speech and short-term memory problems.

Praising his fiancée’s support, he said: ‘I am so grateful for everybody to allow me to be here today, and for Rebekka being there.

‘I don’t know what would have happened to me if she had walked away.

‘I have a second chance at life and I’m going to take it with Rebekka by my side.’

Ms Holmes performed CPR immediately after Mr Wilson went limp in her arms after he complained of chest pains — a common symptom of a heart attack. 

Although it’s not clear what exactly caused Mr Wilson’s cardiac arrest, heart attacks, where the arteries that supply the organ become blocked, can lead to it.

Medics eventually determined Mr Wilson’s cardiovascular emergency was triggered by a blood clot blocking an artery in his heart.  

Without CPR, cardiac arrests can kill in minutes. 

Because the heart stops and all signs of life cease, it is considered a form of death, though not in the legal sense, as it can be reversed through restarting the heart.

This is done either by CPR or a shock from a defibrillator, but neither method guarantees survival.

Therefore, Ms Holmes’s quick thinking likely boosted Mr Wilson’s odds of substantially. 

But even when professional help arrived, Miss Holmes recalled how the crew had to fight to save her ‘soulmate’.  

‘When the paramedics came they said it wasn’t looking good,’ she said. 

‘They used a defibrillator to shock him 11 times in 40 minutes before finally getting a heartbeat.

‘But when they got him outside in the garden he went again and they shocked him six times in another 10 minutes and brought him back again.

‘They put him in an induced coma straight away to minimise any damage.’

Cardiac arrest victims are often put in induced comas to minimise injury to the brain from a lack of oxygen by decreasing its activity. 

Being starved of oxygen for as long as Mr Wilson was can lead to patients only surviving in a vegetative state even if revived due to the extent of brain damage they can suffer. 

Mr Wilson was blue-lighted to Northern General for a stent, a wire mesh that would keep the artery in his heart open.

His loved ones, including Ms Holmes (pictured kissing Mr Wilson) were told by medics nine times that he wouldn't make over the course of his five week coma

His loved ones, including Ms Holmes (pictured kissing Mr Wilson) were told by medics nine times that he wouldn’t make over the course of his five week coma 

Despite the emergency op proving successful, Mr Wilson suffered a series of serious complications that meant he was still fighting for his life.

He suffered a dangerous swelling of the brain two days later and Miss Holmes was told it was likely the beginning of the end. 

At one point, his family were called in to say their goodbyes because he suffered multiple additional heart attacks. Loved ones were even told that Mr Wilson would not survive the night.

Medics also struggled to rouse Mr Wilson from his coma because his body would suffer life-threatening reactions.

These included seizures, kidney failure and even another blood clot that caused problems with his breathing tube.

Recalling her partner’s terrifying ordeal, Miss Holmes said: ‘I stayed by his side the whole time, telling him I loved him. 

“I sang him our song “Dream a Little Dream of Me”, sprayed my perfume on his pillow and put a teddy he bought me, saying ‘Love you to the moon and back’ on it, at the side of him.

‘I believe my love for him brought him through. It is a miracle that he has survived but there are studies that say love and touch can help.

‘Ben has always been a hopeless romantic, getting me flowers and cards and I feel I was repaying him for all the love and affection he has shown me over the seven years we have been together.’

When Mr Wilson eventually came out of his medically-induced coma, the first word he muttered was: ‘Rebekka.’

‘That was a beautiful moment,’ she said.

He would spend the next four months in hospital waiting for a place at dedicated neuropsychiatric rehabilitation centre, which treats victims of brain injuries, to become available. 

Finally, after 14 weeks in rehab, and a total of eight-and-a-half months since his heart attack, Mr Wilson came home permanently just last week. 

Miss Holmes said: ‘While he was in rehab Ben was able to come home at weekends and in December he asked me to marry him. He got down on one knee and popped the question. 

‘Of course I said yes.

‘We’re now planning the full works with an amazing honeymoon to follow.’

Miss Holmes added: ‘I can’t help thinking that if one person had not done their job he might not be here today, but every single person did an absolutely incredible job. 

‘We can’t thank them enough.’

The couple said medics have been unable to pin down exactly why Mr Wilson had made such a miraculous recovery following his ordeal.  

Dr Jennifer Hill, medical director operations at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where he was treated said: ‘We are delighted to hear that Ben is doing well, and his recovery is all the more remarkable given the seriousness of his condition when he was admitted to hospital.

‘It is testament to the skill of the medical teams here and our colleagues across the health service in the region that he has made such good progress, and of course to Ben’s determination and resilience.’

Medics have told the couple the cause of the blood clot that triggered his heart attack was likely due to Mr Wilson’s unhealthy habits of sedentary gaming, smoking and a bad diet. 

Michael SchumacherNHS


Leave a Comment