A Heart Stops

One night as he lay sleeping next to his wife Karen in their Pickering home, Dan Shire's heart suddenly and unexpectedly stopped beating. Trained to respond to cardiovascular emergencies, Karen knew she only had a matter of minutes to act and immediately called 911 before starting CPR.

When paramedics arrived, they used a defibrillator four times to get Dan's heart beating again. He was rushed to the intensive care unit (ICU) at his local hospital, where he spent the next 10 days and was placed in a hypothermic-induced coma to reduce the risk of brain damage.

After an angiogram revealed that his coronary arteries were blocked, Dan was transferred to St. Michael's for life-saving surgery. Cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Subodh Verma and his team performed the coronary bypass that gave Dan a second chance at life.

"I feel so lucky to have survived," says Dan. "I really appreciate the change I got to adjust my priorities, focus on my health and rethink how I want to live the next 25 years."

Following surgery, Dan completed a cardiac rehabilitation program designed to help patients recover and make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of future cardiac incidents.

Dan has since made a full recovery. He and Karen celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary in Hawaii one year after his bypass surgery at St. Michael's with a sunrise hike on the 10,000 foot peak of Haleakala volcano.

I feel so lucky to have survived. — Dan Shire, St. Michael's patient

Dan's survival, against all the odds, is the kind of incredible success story your generosity makes possible — and the truth is we can’t do what we do without you!

St. Michael’s Hospital has been caring for patients in the heart of Toronto for more than 120 years — and we want to ensure that in your own time of greatest need, you can always expect the absolute best care.

Please give today, as generously as you can, to help our expert health care teams keep saving lives and providing the exceptional care that is our hallmark.