A Lewisville man is beating great odds after doctors in Denton restarted his heart 44 times following a heart attack. The team at Medical City Denton, which saved Ed Burkett, marvel at his unlikely recovery.
For Burkett, each day on the golf course is a blessing. He plays Lake Park in Lewisville four or five days a week.
"We've got a group of guys we golf with," Burkett said. "We get together, and on Thursday we play for money."
Ten cents a hole is the wager. Not exactly high stakes. And certainly not as high as the stakes were for Burkett on Aug. 13.
"It was painful," he said of the chest pains, which he initially thought were caused by gas bubbles. "We kept golfing and we got to the 13th hole, and I said to my friend John, I gotta get some help."
"I was really worried about him," said that friend, John Wood.
Wood drove Burkett to the clubhouse, and then Rushed him to the VA Center in Denton. From there, an ambulance transported Ed to Medical City Denton, where the Navy veteran suffered a heart attack.
"He came in incredibly sick," said Dr. Gary Fazio, a cardiologist at the hospital who was part of the team that worked to save Burkett's life. What happened over the next hour was harrowing. The result -- unexpected, given the patient's condition.
"It's really nothing short of miraculous," Fazio said. "There are miracles that happen every day here. Sometimes it takes someone like Ed to make it so obvious."
Especially after his heart stopped 44 times. Fazio said he's never even come close to witnessing that in his 20-plus years in medicine.
"Generally speaking, after that many defibrillations, you've lost that battle," he said.
Burkett spent 12 days in the hospital -- eight of them unconscious. Fazio said most people who go through anything close to what Burkett did have long-lasting effects, if they survive at all. Which made what happened next so spectacular.
Less than one month after literally dying 44 times, Burkett was back at it. Golfing with his buddies.
"I don't think it's changed me a lot," he said, of his near-death experience. "I think the biggest change might be, I've attended church every day since I got out of the hospital."
His doctor said Burkett's story has lifted the spirit of the entire hospital.
"It reminds you where there's life, there's hope," Fazio said. "And if you have faith, anything's possible."
Burkett’s recovery took persistence, luck and faith. Doctors told him his odds of surviving and leading a normal life were about 1.75 million-to-one.
"His relatives actually put a down payment on his funeral," Wood said.
But he is still here.
"It could have gone either way," Burkett said. "And I don't have any doubt I would have gone to heaven."
Now, Burkett finds heaven four or five days a week -- one hole, at a time.
"It is God's will," he said. "It's gonna be the way he wants it."