‘Best Christmas Present' Is New Life for Baylor Medical Volunteer

Norbert Schulz has no memory of dying — or being brought back to life.But that's technically what happened on Sept. 8 as the seven-year volunteer at Baylor Jack and Jane Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital began his usual 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift. "I've acquired quite a gang of followers," said the 69-year-old former chemical engineer as he roamed the Dallas hospital's corridors. "People, as they walk down the hallway, they stop me. I don't know them from Adam, but they always seem to know me." That's because many of them helped bring him back to life. "If I had been alone, if I hadn't been where I was, I never would have made it," Schulz said quietly. At Baylor, Schulz's main job is to provide comfort and assistance to those who have family members undergoing tests and procedures at the hospital. Because those procedures almost always involve the heart, it can be a traumatic experience.That morning, he had a list of patients and doctors' schedules at his desk on the second-floor waiting room. He grabbed the list and headed to the cardiac catheterization lab on the third floor to double-check his paper schedule with one displayed on overhead screens. 'No warning, no prologue ...' "I walked down the hall and discovered I was getting light-headed," Schulz said. "There was no warning, no prologue. No chest pressure, no arm deal, no jaw pain ... it was just, here comes the floor." It was sudden cardiac arrest — not actually a heart attack, but ventricular fibrillation, considered the most serious cardiac disturbance. It occurs when the heart's lower chambers fall out of rhythm and can no longer pump blood. Schulz went through a similar event in 2000, but it was an atrial fibrillation involving a fluttering sensation or irregular heartbeat that Schulz described as much less intense.  Continue reading...

Copyright The Dallas Morning News
Contact Us