'He saved his life:' Lexington doctor from Hamlin's hometown weighs in

Dolphins Bills Football
Posted at 4:13 PM, Jan 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-06 17:20:56-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Even for a man whose job it is to saves lives, the recovery being made by Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin has been nothing short of astonishing to Dr. George Dimeling of Lexington’s CHI Saint Joseph Hospital.

“If you have a traumatic event that stops your heart on a football field on national TV and you get a breathing tube placed and CPR and then you (have a chance to) walk out of the hospital to enjoy your family, it’s a miracle,” Dr. Dimeling said.

Hamlin’s breathing tube was removed on Friday morning at the UC Medical Center in Cincinnati, and he was able to speak with teammates back in western New York.

Dr. Dimeling is a Cardiothoracic surgeon who grew up in the same Pittsburgh neighborhood as Hamlin, so given his area of expertise and the area in which he was raised, Hamlin’s story is one he’s been following since that punishing hit he took on Monday night in Cincinnati against the Bengals. Following the collision with Bengals Wide Receiver Tee Higgins, Hamlin collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. Nearly ten minutes of CPR was needed to resuscitate.

“We’re talking about a certain amount of force being delivered within a millisecond, and it’s an exact target,” Dr. Dimeling explained of the extremely long odds of sustaining this type of injury, which caused Hamlin’s heart to go into arrest.

Dr. Dimeling said the Bills medical personnel executed their game plan to perfection, and that Hamlin’s physical condition not only helped him on the field but in the hospital in the following days.

“If you’re a professional athlete, or a college athlete you don’t have those preexisting conditions. You probably have normal blood vessels, so the CPR can be very effective,” Dimeling stated.

In Hamlin’s case the CPR saved his live.

“Bravo Zulu to Mr. (Denny) Kellington, and his CPR skills. I think that is just spectacular,” Dr. Dimeling said, with a nod to his Naval background.