HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - On October 11, Ariel Cadiz’s life changed.
He was at his Kapolei home doing yard work when he felt a burning sensation in his chest that led to shortness of breath and a feeling that he was going to vomit. His wife called 911.
“If I hadn’t gone with them I would not be here talking right now,” he said.
Initially, Cadiz balked at going to the hospital.
Veteran Honolulu EMS Paramedic Eric Chiavetta and EMT Nathan Otto saw the warning signs and urged him to reconsider.
“We had noticed on his EKG that he was having a small cardiac event, which could lead to a worse scenario,” Chiavetta said.
He was right. During the ambulance ride Cadiz slipped into cardiac arrest.
“I just heard a knock on our Plexiglas that separates our driver’s side from the box of the ambulance. I turned around and Eric’s telling me to pull over,” Otto said.
Cadiz had stopped breathing and was turning blue. He remembers a vision.
“I was in the middle of a river, and I saw an old man and a young man on the side of a stone,” he said.
Chiavetta and Otto used CPR then a defibrillator to shock Cadiz’s heart. Thankfully, It worked.
“I heard someone say, “We cannot lose this guy,’” Cadiz said.
He saw Chiavetta and Otto. “I begged them, ‘Please don’t let me die!’” he said.
At Pali Momi Medical Center, surgeons inserted two stents into one of Cadiz’s arteries.
“It was like 95 to 99% blocked,” he said.
Chiavetta has been a paramedic for 16 years. He has never experienced anything like this.
“I’ve had people come back from a cardiac arrest event. But to have them come back and actually wake up and speak, that’s something you typically only see in movies and television,” he said.
Otto said early intervention saved Cadiz.
“We’re there for a reason. We want to save lives,” he said.
Chiavetta said people should never ignore their body’s warning signs.
“If you’re having these chest pains and you’re having a problem where you think it’s bad enough to call the ambulance, please definitely call us. Get treated and listen to what we have to say,” he said.
Cadiz, 55, enjoys every day more than ever. On Tuesday, he met with Chiavetta and Otto to thank them for bringing him back from his brush with death.
“Thank God! Thank God I’m still alive,” he said.
He said he now has two birthdays ― the day he was born and the day he nearly died.