Dale Lidstrom: Living Through Sudden Cardiac Death
By Michelle Wilson
The 700 Club
Original Air Date: October 12, 2010
Dale Lidstrom was in perfect health. His wife Rita says he hardly would get a cold.
"Dale’s been strong throughout his life," Rita tells The 700 Club. "He didn’t go to doctors. He ate what he wanted to. He slept well, worked hard."
That is until August 5th, 2008. Dale had gone to a hardware store to buy a tool he needed to finish up a remodeling project. But he never made it home.
Dale says, "As I was walking out the door, I remember nothing else. Suddenly, I was told later that I grabbed my chest and I fell to the ground somewhere in that parking lot."
Dale had a heart attack. A retired nurse was nearby and started CPR. Paramedics arrived 8 minutes later.
Paramedic Ryan Scellick recalls, “We pulled in to find Dale in full cardiac arrest laying in the parking lot. He was unresponsive, not breathing and had no heart rate at all. Basically he was dead when we found him and started to resuscitate him. We shocked him a total of three times. Got him in the back of the ambulance and started to the hospital.”
Rita’s sister came by to tell her the news. They immediately drove to the hospital and prayed. Rita tells how she prayed. “I said, ‘Jesus’ out loud. ‘You’ve gotta go first. I can’t do this.’”
Dale was rushed to surgery where doctors began to repair the damage to his heart. He had been without proper circulation to his heart and brain for nearly eight minutes. Dr. Veilbig was the cardiologist in charge.
“He had experienced what’s called sudden cardiac death," Dr. Veilbig says. "This is where the heart rhythm suddenly becomes very rapid and irregular and the heart doesn’t pump any blood. And so the person drops dead at that point.”
Doctors discovered that one of his major arteries, also called the “widow maker”, was 90 percent blocked. Doctors opened it with a stent and restored blood flow.
Dr. Veilbig continues, “A blockage in that artery early on will is euphemistically called a ‘widow maker’ because people don’t survive that if something isn’t done properly. Too much heart muscle is lost.”
After surgery doctors told Rita that while the procedure was successful, Dale was still in critical condition. He remained on life support throughout the night.
Rita explains the doctor’s report. “He said, ‘In all my surgeries I’ve only had one survivor of this nature, and there were brain issues. Your husband will have brain damage.’”
Rita asked her family to pray a very specific prayer. “Will you agree with me that God will take him in glory or raise him up in glory, but deliver us from this evil?”
Fifteen minutes later, she went back to his room and something miraculous happened.
Rita describes the events that followed. “He didn’t know anything. He looked straight to me like this. I looked at him, and I said, ‘Dale! Honey, we love you.’ And he nodded his head. He looked at each one of us in the room like, ‘Why are you here? What’s wrong?’ I got the doctor, and I said, 'He’s okay. Nothing’s wrong.’”
Within one day, he was taken off of life support and soon he was talking. What’s more, tests revealed no neurological damage!
Rita was amazed. “He was totally intelligent. One of his friends came to visit him. He had a two-hour Bible study with him.”
Dale was discharged from the hospital on Saturday, just four days after his heart attack – completely healed.
“I know Dale’s recovery was an absolute, instantaneous miracle," she says. "That’s why our minds are blown.”
Dr. Veilbig recently spoke with Dale. He says statistically the odds were stacked against him for a complete recovery. “Most of the people don’t even make it to the hospital. They die at home, in their sleep. So he really has recovered completely.”
Dale and Rita have been married for 44 years. Every moment they spend together is much sweeter.
“I felt like I was just picking up where I had left off in the sense of our relationship and the grace of God,” Dale says.
Rita describes life for the two of them now. “We’ve enjoyed a whole lot more love and appreciation for every breath. Just that he’s there and I can just hold his hand and look at his face and he can talk to me."
Dale doesn’t remember anything of his miraculous survival. All he knows is that God is a merciful God and that miracles still happen.
“The rest of my life, I will live in the wonder of that. Whether I can explain it or not, I know my God had mercy on me and He’s a merciful God. He delights in mercy. And He will do it for you.”
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