Back From The Dead

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 8:54am

Man flat-lines after massive heart attack, then makes miracle recovery.

Alan and Angie Durham made the journey through life together, crossing the threshold into marriage in 1976.

Three children, four grandchildren and 35 years later, Alan had a heart attack at their Acworth, Georgia home on May 23.

On the way to the hospital in the ambulance, he flat-lined.

"It was very frustrating because he wasn't responding to all of our medicines, all of our standard protocols, but we didn't want to give up because we knew this guy had been up walking and talking 15 minutes earlier," says Dr. Michael Nitzken.

Fifteen minutes after Alan stopped breathing, Dr. Nitzken called for Angie.

"I was concerned we were going to lose him," he said. "I wanted her to be there so if she had to say goodbye, she could see all the effort going on to try to resuscitate him."

Angie Durham said she was surprised they allowed her to enter the trauma room, with the 15 people trying to save her husband.

She said she thought Alan was gone.

"I could see he didn't have any heartbeat. He wasn't breathing, it wasn't him," she recalls.

"She asked if he could still hear her and I believe yes because I believe the last thing to ever go is hearing. And I said, 'Yeah, he can hear you,'" says Dr. Nitzken.

Angie said, "That's when I told him 'I love you, you can't leave me, I couldn't live without you,' and I walked out."

As soon as Angie left something changed.

"With that the monitor was beep beep. It clicked back and got his rhythm back," says Dr. Nitzken.

Angie was devastated and waiting when a doctor showed up and told her Alan was alive again.

Six days later, after an induced coma and a stint in his heart, Alan awoke.

He remembered nothing, and so they told him.

He had died, and he had come back.

"I think it was a miracle," Angie said.

Alan said it's the grace of God.

Beginning to cry he said, "I don't know why he decided to let me come back, but he did, and that's a good thing. Now I get to see my grandkids grow up and I get to grow old. I'm looking forward to that."

Seven weeks after that day, Alan and Angie returned to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital to reunite with the team that worked to save him.

Dr. Nitzken and members of the team hugged Alan and Angie.

"You guys are the best," Alan said.

"You look wonderful," Dr. Nitzken told Alan.

"I feel good," Alan smiled. "I feel good."

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