Giant pothole may have saved metro man's life

Published: Apr. 16, 2019 at 6:27 PM CDT
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Everyone complains about potholes popping up in the spring, but one man may have potholes to thank for saving his life.

Monday afternoon, Gretna Rescue rushed to help a 59-year-old man with a racing heart at work. He had no history of heart problems.

The squad had a 20-minute drive to the emergency room, and at one point the patient's heart was beating at a rate of 200 beats per minute.

During the seven-mile ride from 144th and Interstate 80 to Lakeside Hospital, the rig hit a pothole.

Medics told the hospital, as relayed by the Omaha Scanner on Twitter, that the jolt of the pothole converted the patient's racing heart to normal rhythms.

"It's rare, but it's a well-described phenomenon," Nebraska Medicine's Dr. Andrew Goldsweig said.

He wasn't the physician on the case but provided 6 News with the details on how the jarring from the pothole could be so helpful.

"One way to treat that is with an electrical shock. Classically, you'll see it on television. The paddles, 'Clear' and a big jolt. Turns out, you can do that with a pothole," Goldsweig said.

Gretna Fire and Rescue's chief decline to talk about where the lifesaving pothole was located so that the patient's privacy would not be violated.

Friends of the patient said he may be released from the hospital Tuesday night, and he will surely be looking at potholes a little differently from now one.

Goldsweig said there's one well-documented case from the late '70s where the patient was jolted into a normal heart rhythm by a speedbump.