Salvation Army volunteer resurrected after 45 minutes of cardiac arrest

Michael Knapinski, 45, was incredibly rescued and reanimated after he went missing in Mount Rainier National Park in the cold and in the dark.

His heart stopped for at least 45 minutes before doctors could bring him back to life.

Dozens of rescuers were involved in the search for Michael Knapinski, who on November 7 got lost in the mountains of Mount Rainier National Park (Washington, USA).

On the morning of November 7, a 45-year-old man from Woodinville went out into the mountains with a friend.

They later split up to approach the meeting point from different directions.

Michael was soon caught in a blizzard and was completely disoriented. “All of a sudden, a white streak hit me, I saw nothing but it,” Knapinski told The Seattle Times in a telephone interview. – “The last thing I remember was walking down the mountain with small steps, still not seeing anything. I don’t remember what happened next. I think I fell, this is indicated by bruises and scratches all over my body. ”

When Michael did not go to the meeting place that evening, his friend sounded the alarm and said that Knapinski was missing.

Three National Park Service teams were looking for the guy until Sunday morning, when visibility deteriorated again and temperatures dropped to freezing temperatures.

In the afternoon, weather conditions allowed the helicopter team to take off in search.

Michael was discovered from a helicopter at the mouth of the Nisqually River.

An hour later, he was sent by the Navy to the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

“He still had a pulse when he was admitted,” said Harborview Center Doctor Jenelle Badulak, one of the first to treat him, “but soon there was a cardiac arrest. He died while in the emergency room, which gave us a unique opportunity to try to save his life, virtually bypassing his heart and lungs, which is the most modern form of artificial life support in the world, ”added Jenelle Badulak.

According to her, he remained dead for about 45 minutes while the teams repeatedly performed CPR and connected him to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine.

The technology allows blood to be pumped outside the body into a heart-lung machine, which removes carbon dioxide and sends oxygenated blood back to body tissues.

“After restarting the heart, the medical team spent the entire night with him monitoring his condition,” said Dr. Nick Johnson, who is part of the ECMO Harborview team.

Michael opened his eyes two days later.

Whitney Holen, a Harborview ICU nurse, sat next to him when he woke up Tuesday night.

She has worked at a medical center for 12 years and said that this moment will forever remain one of the brightest of her career.

According to her, the first thing he wanted to do was to call his family.

“He cried, and they cried, and I’m sure I cried a little,” Holen added. “There was something special about how dramatically and impressively he woke up.”

“Despite the fact that he still has to go through a path of recovery – kidney problems, heart problems and the consequences of frostbite – the specialists at the center believe that he will be fine,” said Dr. Saman Arbaby, head of the surgical intensive care unit of Harborview. – “He rose from the dead … Maybe from a medical point of view this is not entirely correct, but his heart did not beat for more than 45 minutes! This is amazing!”

Michael Knapinski grew up in Kirkland and spends a lot of his time working as a volunteer at the Salvation Army Food Bank in Seattle.

He also builds foster homes with the Overlake Church in Redmond.

“This is my calling in life, and as soon as I recover, I will continue to do so,” he said. “I am still shocked and amazed at what happened.”

Michael’s wife wrote on Facebook: “This is perhaps the greatest miracle I have ever seen in my life! God is great! God bless all the people who prayed, saved and took care of him. ”

According to The Seattle Times