Reviving our faith in doctors

He could have said "So What", but he chose not to:

Surgeon revives heart patient in courtroom
Talk about right place, right time …

ByDaniel Nolan

A cardiac surgery resident at the Hamilton General Hospital was in the right place at the right time when a man collapsed before him at traffic court.

Apparently the man suffered a split in the wall of his aorta, the main artery that pumps blood from the left ventricle of the heart, which just happens to be Dr. Hasib Hanif's area of specialty.

"It is treated solely by cardiac surgeons, and I just happened to be a cardiac surgeon," Hanif said Wednesday. "What are the chances that I am in the courtroom on the same day, at the same time with this gentleman — who happened to get his ticket a year and a half ago, and I got mine six months ago — we happen to be in the exact same location?

"I see him have an arrest, I bring him back to life, and take him to the hospital … it is just amazing."

The incident happened Tuesday morning in the traffic court at the downtown courthouse.

Russell Holden, owner of Mountain Plumbing, who assisted the doctor in saving the man's life, said he was "speechless" when he found out the doctor had the precise expertise needed to deal with the stricken man.

"I was just amazed at how efficiently and quickly he worked," said Holden, who was instructed by the doctor to hold up the man's head and neck.

"It just so happens there is a cardiac surgeon sitting right beside me, and something happens that is related to this guy's specialty ... This guy was put there for the right reason at the right time. That was the coolest part."

Hanif, 29, and Holden, 39, didn't have to remain in court to contest their traffic tickets after the incident. Both were forgiven by the court.

The doctor was at traffic court to fight a $325 fine.

The ill man was taken to Hamilton General Hospital, but due to patient confidentiality, hospital officials could not release his condition.

Both the doctor and the plumber noted something was off with the man when he got up to speak to the justice of the peace about his traffic ticket shortly after 9 a.m.
Holden said the man appeared nervous and upset and was taking deep breaths. He was staggering a bit and the judge asked him if he was feeling all right.

Holden said the man believed he would be fine if he could get a drink of water.

Hanif then asked the judge if he could take a look at him as he was a doctor, and the judge agreed.

"He wasn't looking so well," Hanif recalled, thinking the man was having an anxiety attack. "He was sweating."

The JP dismissed the man's ticket and, after he left the courtroom, Hanif asked if he could check on him again. He went out of the courtroom and found him collapsed in a chair.

Hanif said he was "in full cardiac arrest."

"(The man) walked out and I thought he was long gone," said Holden.

Then, we heard an awkward thud in the hallway. We all kind of stopped what we were doing.

A moment later, the doctor flew back in — he just stormed through that door — and hollered 'I need help.'"

Hanif got the man comfortable on the floor, asking Holden to help by holding up his head in what is called a jaw lift. He immediately administered CPR and, after about five minutes, the man coughed, started breathing again and opened his eyes.
By this time, paramedics had arrived.

Hanif accompanied the man to the hospital.

[email protected]
905-526-3351 | @dandundas