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Quick response saves Sheboygan man's life after heart attack

Posted at 11:01 PM, Feb 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 07:57:57-05

It's Valentine's Day, when matters of the heart get our attention. For one Sheboygan man, his heart is working today because of an amazing series of events. 

Tyler Ross is just 33 years old and it would seem, too young to have a heart attack. But he had one, the day after Christmas.

All he really remembers is waking up three days later, at St. Luke's Hospital in Milwaukee. Tyler recently met some of the people who helped save his life.

His surgeon, Dr. Frank Downey with Aurora St. Luke's, said of the response to Tyler that, "everything worked. To put a movie title to it, it would be the day after Christmas miracle."

Tyler remembers being home and getting winded carrying his 5-year-old daughter up the stairs. He began sweating profusely and stripping off his clothes. That's where his memory of what happened ends.

Tyler's girlfriend, Michelle was there to call 9-1-1. She recognized the signs of a heart attack because her own father died of one. Then, according to Downey, the emergency workers who responded, did an amazing job of stabilizing Tyler to get him to the hospital.

"They created a surgical airway like you might see on MASH or in a battlefield situation. To do that in the field is extraordinary. It really was," Downey said. 

Tyler was then rushed to Aurora Medical Center in Grafton. After surgery, more complications, his lungs filled with water. It's a case Downey says they don't normally see in Grafton. 

"We made arrangements and all the operating staff at Grafton brought materials and all the things we needed to hook him up to a heart-lung machine," Downey said. 

The medical team was able to move him to St. Luke's, where he woke up three days later. When Tyler met some of the team that saved him, he didn't remember them.

Mark Simmons with Aurora St. Luke's told Tyler he was part of the team who worked on him and that it was so good to see him standing.

"The Sheboygan Fire EMS absolutely saved my life. The people in Grafton absolutely saved my life. The people in the ambulance saved my life. The people in St. Luke's saved my life," Tyler said. 

Tyler does have heart disease in his family. His grandfather died of a heart attack at 47 and his father survived a minor one. 

Downey says Tyler's heart didn't sustain any permanent damage so he should be able to watch his daughter grow up. Tyler says he's committed to a healthier lifestyle after his scare and promises to eat better and not smoke.