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Amherst Man's Life is Saved Thanks to Wearable Defibrillator

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More than 300,000 Americans a year die from a heart attack. Some doctors say a wearable defibrillator could help to reduce those numbers.

An Amherst man never took medicine and hadn't been to the doctor for 20 years but when he finally made that trip, he was diagnosed with a condition that weakened his heart function.

After wearing a new vest around the clock – it delivered the shock that brought him back to life. It's one birthday the Anderson family will never forget.

"I'm just glad to be alive," said David Anderson. He won't ever forget the day before his 83rd birthday.

"When you're 82 years old and you're working like you're 49,” said Kay Anderson about her husband David, “you get short winded, so we didn't think much about it."

It was February 21st. He was on his ranch watching cattle on the wrong side of the fence.

"They were looking at me instead of the hole in the fence. Then, when I woke up they were in, but that's part of my life I can't tell you nothing about; I was actually dead," David explained.

Ninety-five percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before they can reach some form of emergency help.

"If we are not able to shock them out of this dangerous rhythm within 30 seconds up to a minute or so, these patients unfortunately die. So this device is able to deliver that electrical shock in less than a minute," said Cardiologist Dr. Iyad Azzam of Kearney Regional Hospital.

Thanks to the LifeVest – which monitors each heart beat – David said he's here today to talk about it.

"I'm not a genius on that, but I was feeling fine before and I was fine after, but that part of my life I have no recollection of it."

Doctors said David was dead for about 43 seconds. The first treatment shock converted his heart rhythm back to normal.

"It brought me back," David said.

The vest did what it was supposed to. "I had no pain before or after," David explained.

"It's amazing," Kay said.

When he came to, David was a quarter of a mile away from where he remembers. "Put the fence back up and drove ten miles home."

His wife took him to Kearney Regional Hospital where he received an implantable defibrillator.

"He has a hard time sitting in a recliner now when he'd rather be outside working," Kay said.

"It's kind of a nice birthday present to still be alive," David said.

The LifeVest has a 98 percent first treatment shock success rate, but can give up to five shocks if needed.

“I'm just so thankful God gave someone a brain to think this all out, and God was riding with him when he had his little trip,” Kay said.

David Anderson still is out walking among his cattle, checking them every day.

Doctors at the Kearney Regional Hospital have prescribed the LifeVest to more than 15 people in the last few years. On any given day, tens of thousands of people around the world are protected from sudden cardiac death by wearing the LifeVest.

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