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'She saved my life': Frankfort man hailed as miracle patient

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Posted at 5:26 PM, Dec 15, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — The everyday things like making a sandwich or playing with their dogs feel a little more special these days for the Combs family.

In June, Andy Combs had a heart attack. His wife Julie and mother-in-law did CPR on him until the ambulance came.

"I don't know if it was the adrenaline, the shock, both," Julie said. "I was just numb."

Andy had no pulse for about 30 minutes. Then, he was in a coma for two weeks when doctors told Julie he may never wake up. Julie said she was told if he did wake up he wouldn't be able to communicate.

"You have to come to a point where you decide what his wishes are," she said. "The way he wants to be."

She had to make the heart-wrenching decision to take him off life support.

Fourteen hours later, she got a call from a nurse saying Andy was awake and asking for her.

"I think I may have deafened the nurse," she said. "I just screamed and got to the hospital as fast as I could."

Since then, Andy has had a bumpy road, including having quintuple bypass surgery, but he's doing great now.

"God's never gonna put anything too heavy on you that you can't handle without his help," Andy said.

Dr. Gbolahan Ogunbayo with UK Healthcare said Andy's medical journey can be described as a miracle for many reasons.

First, Dr. Ogunbayo said only about 10% of patients make it to the hospital alive after suffering a cardiac arrest.

He also said the fact that Andy survived a major surgery while he was "frail and weak" following his heart attack, was another miracle.

"To make it out of the hospital walking on his own two feet and doing very well would give it multiple layers of what you would call a miracle," he said.

Finally, the fact that Andy had no pulse for about 30 minutes and suffered no neurological deficits, was beyond impressive.

"It's expected almost that when you've been down for that long you'd have some degree of mental impairment in your higher-level function, but he didn't have any of that at all," Dr. Ogunbayo said. "I think part of it was the wife being able to at least help to perform some level of CPR."

"She saved my life," Andy said about his wife. "I still can't believe that I'm here."

Dr. Ogunbayo said this is one of many examples of why everyone should learn CPR. He said it's the best present to give your loved ones because you never know when you will need to do it.

To find a CPR class near you, click here. 

Andy is still going to rehab to regain full motor function in his right arm. He could be cleared in February to work again.

Anyone who is interested in donating to the Combs' to help Andy continue on his road to recovery can do so here