Retired Kansas City radio newsman has his own story of survival

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Northland man spent decades in Kansas City radio news, reporting on every sort of emergency. Dan Verbeck recently had his own emergency and is alive to share that news, too.

Just doing their job. Verbeck knows that's what nurses, doctors and other caregivers at Saint Luke's North Hospital will tell you.

"They weren't just doing their job, they were saving me so I could come and tell a little bit of their story," Verbeck said.

It's his story, too. On June 6, the retired radio newsman had chest tightness, sweating and trouble breathing. As his wife drove him to Saint Luke's North Hospital, his heart stopped beating. She rushed into the hospital.

"And told the volunteer at the front desk, my husband's dead in the front seat," he said.

"Dan was not responsive so we initiated a code response," said Marilyn Datillo, a nurse in the emergency department.

They started chest compressions and then shocked his heart back into a beat. Verbeck was still unconscious, so the team began cooling his body.

"We put the pads across the torso," said Marci Ebberts, the head of Saint Luke's therapeutic hypothermia program, as she showed the cooling pads.

The goal with cooling was to save brain cells that lacked oxygen in the minutes Verbeck's heart wasn't beating.

Then they rushed him to the catheterization lab to clear a blockage in an artery. A heart attack had caused the cardiac arrest.

Verbeck's body was still being cooled to 91.4 degrees.

"Pads circulate icy cold water through this gel," said Ebberts.

He'd remain cool for a day before being slowly rewarmed. Verbeck awakened.

"He was wanting tubes out, and wanting to get up, so those are all great signs," said Ebberts.

There was no brain damage.

"Okay, I was dead and I'm able to do things like I used to do," said Verbeck.

He was able to return to the hospital on his own less than six weeks later to visit with his lifesavers.

"A thank you like this is just fabulous," said Datillo.

"They're just regular people, but they're so good at it," said Verbeck.

And that's news Verbeck is grateful to share.