Medical Vest Saves Oklahoma City Man's Life

Thursday, November 10th 2011, 7:36 pm
By: News 9

Medical technology saved a metro man's life last week.  And it was technology that he happened to be wearing. 

Dan and Elaine Snodgrass have been married forty-six years.  Last week, Elaine wasn't so sure that her husband Dan would live to see forty-seven.

Snodgrass underwent bypass surgery on his damaged heart at the Oklahoma Heart Hospital, and had just been released last Monday when he and his family settled in to watch a football game on TV.  But before he started cheering for his Chicago Bears, his heart went into cardiac arrest.  He was alerted to his condition by a defibrillator vest that he was wearing.

Snodgrass had been sent home with the vest by Dr. Mark Harvey, a heart rhythm specialist at OHH.  Harvey knew Snodgrass had dealt with numerous heart issues in the past. 

"There are two hundred thousand to four hundred thousand people a year who die of cardiac arrest," said Harvey.  "Less than one person out of ten who has a cardiac arrest at home survives."

When Snodgrass went into cardiac arrest, he passed out, but his defibrillator vest did its job, delivering not one, but two lifesaving shocks.

"I didn't realize it had went off and shocked me twice," said Snodgrass.  "Until one of them told somebody with the ambulance service."

Snodgrass now has a defibrillator implant, and still has the vest that he used at his house.  Elaine Snodgrass is grateful for the device and hopes to get the word out to more heart patients.  

"Maybe somewhere somebody might find themselves in the same situation," said Snodgrass.  "If it would save one more life, then that's what we need to do."