VIDEO: Tennessee foot doctor breaks patient’s ribs to save life

LENOIR CITY (CNN Newsource) — A regular day at a Tennessee foot and ankle clinic quickly turned into a life-and-death scenario.

Dr. David Hawk says it all started when an elderly man came in for a simple toenail trimming.

A doctor’s day can be very unexpected. However, Dr. Hawk’s routine is pretty set in stone at Tennessee Foot and Ankle Clinic.

He takes care of everything from ingrown toenails to ankle and foot surgeries, but a regular visit for one man almost became his last.

“I was calling his name out yelling, ‘Come on! Come on!’ And hoping he would come back to us,” Dr. Hawk said.

The patient sat back in the chair and then stopped breathing and lost his pulse.

“We lost the pulse, so I basically straddled him like this and started the chest compressions,” Dr. Hawk said.

He was having a massive heart attack.

His eyes rolled in the back of his head and nurses watched as the man stopped breathing.

Dr. Hawk wasted no time to begin CPR.

“Yeah, it’s very typical if you do chest compression’s deep enough,” Dr. Hawk said. “I did a little more rigorous when I didn’t get a pulse. Just went harder. Then, I felt some ribs break. We are taught to keep going, so I did. Seconds later, we got a pulse. He’s got a sore chest, but he’s still with us.”

The man flatlined a total of three times, and if it weren’t for Dr. Hawk forcefully pushing on his chest, doctors say the man would be dead.

“He said I’ve never seen someone survive with this particular EKG, and the cardiologist told him the same thing. And apparently, he had a blood clot and the chest compressions forced it through, and that’s what apparently saved him,” Dr. Hawk said.

The man survived and last remembers talking with Dr. Hawk, a doctor that normally saves soles.

But this time, he actually saved a soul.

“It just wasn’t his time to go, and I was in the right place at the right time. And I’m so happy for his family,” Dr. Hawk said.

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