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Lafayette man gets second chance at life

Mr. Beck tells me this incident was truly an awakening. His heart condition developed about 20 years ago because of unhealthy eating habits.

Posted: Feb 12, 2021 10:12 AM
Updated: Feb 12, 2021 3:02 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- One Lafayette man is happy to have a second chance at life. Just over a year ago, 63-year-old Lynn Beck's heart gave out while he was on a plane traveling home.

Dealing with the stress of having to rush to catch a close flight, mixed with ongoing blood pressure issues and a heart condition became the perfect storm that caused Lynn Beck's body to give out that day.

"I put my bags away, I sat down and I slumped over. My heart had stopped," said Beck.

Beck just so happened to be in an aisle seat, the perfect position for Delta Airlines flight attendant, Erica Bone to quickly step in to help revive him.

"This flight attendant, she was watching me and now at 10:30 at night, why was she watching me? It's by the grace of God," said Beck.

The flight attendant used a defibrillator to shock Beck then conducted 120 chest compressions, breaking 12 of his ribs. But her efforts are ultimately what brought him back to life.

"In order to do CPR right you've got to do it correctly and you're breaking ribs when you do it," said Beck. "You know, the survival rate of an event like that is nine percent, only nine percent of the folks actually come out of that."

Beck said heart issues run in his family, and his eating habits may have also played a role in what may have lead to him developing a heart condition. He first found out about his heart issue about 20 years ago when he had to be rushed to the hospital after experiencing chest pain. Franciscan Health doctors discovered an artery that provides oxygen to his heart had almost been entirely blocked up so they put in a stent to help open up the passageway.

"I know that carrying this weight does not help me so I learned that I really really need to take it seriously. I never have," said Beck.

He's not only working toward a healthy lifestyle for himself, but he's also encouraging others to invest in their health as well.

"The more we take care of ourselves, we're just going to live a lot longer, happier life," said Beck.

After the incident, Beck spent 10 days in intensive care so he was not able to meet the flight attendant who saves his life. He's hoping if Covid-19 cases can continue decreasing this year he'll be able to plan a time to meet her this summer.

"The plan is maybe to see her this May and give her that hug, which would mean a lot," said Beck.

Beck got a pace-maker put in after the incident, which may be the cause of an irregular heartbeat condition that he has now developed called Atrial Fibrillation. This is more common the older in age you become.

According to Franciscan Health, if an irregular heartbeat continues or speeds up for longer periods of time, you may have atrial fibrillation (Afib). Untreated, Afib can put you at risk for stroke or heart attack. People with Afib usually have other symptoms, such as fatigue, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, sweating, and confusion.

If you've experienced these symptoms, especially if you already have been diagnosed with heart disease or have a family history of heart disease, Franciscan Health is encouraging the community to stop by the hospital to get it checked out.

Dr. Asem Rimawi, an electrophysiologist at Franciscan Health, said in addition to having your heart checked by medical professionals, turning toward a healthy lifestyle is also a good first step toward good heart health.

"The very important thing is to try and live healthy, lose weight or maintain and healthy weight and eat right. That may decrease the likelihood of heart disease and rhythm problems," said Rimawi.

Atrial Fibrillation is not the same as heart palpitations, which can bring a feeling of your heart skipping a beat or "flip-flopping" in your chest. According to Franciscan Health, people describe the feeling as a "strong pulse" in their chest or neck that makes them feel briefly uneasy. Most of the time, the person has no other long-lasting symptoms.

The hospital reports, heart palpitations with no other symptoms are not serious. Often, stress, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, or medications like pseudoephedrine can be behind them. Palpitations may also be a signal that your body is low in potassium or magnesium. Sometimes palpitations increase for a short time after exercise because, even though you've stopped your activity, adrenalin levels remain high. Anxiety and panic attacks also can affect your heart rate.

The hospital reports if the symptoms go away quickly, there's usually nothing to worry about. Cutting back on coffee or alcohol or switching some medications may reduce palpitations.

Franciscan Health is encouraging people ages 60 and older to get their heart checked out as a precautionary measure. The hospital is offering scans and treatments specifically focused on identifying and treating Afib. Click here to learn more.

Other Franciscan Heart Health Tools:

The hospital is also offering regular heart scans for patients right now. You can sign up for an appointment here. The scan is non-invasive and can help discover and determine your risk of heart disease.

It also offers a grant program, called Revive & Survive for non-profits to apply for an AED. Click here to learn more. The site also provides options for companies that might not meet the grant guidelines but is still need an AED.

And also CPR classes for adults and infant CPR for new parents. Click here to learn more.

To learn more information on heart health in general, including topics on heart attacks, Hypertension, AFib & heart scan, click here.

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