Niles heart attack survivor reflects on life-saving new treatment
Niles resident Bob Raminiak, with his wife, Halina, recently met the doctors and emergency responders who saved his life after a near-fatal heart attack. | Contributed photo
Updated: December 30, 2012 6:15AM
NILES — Bob Raminiak, 67, says it’s a miracle that he is alive today.The long-time Niles resident recently had a heart attack and his heart was defibrillated six times. When he arrived at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge he received total body hypothermia, a new treatment that lowers the body temperature in order to slow down body processes and preserve brain tissue. This new treatment gave the cardiac team more time to perform an emergency cardiac catheterization, saving Raminiak’s life.
Q: How would you describe the experience that you went through?
A: I had a heart attack while I was at home. I was not feeling well and all of a sudden it came about. I went to a different hospital earlier that day before. I remember driving with my wife to that other hospital, but I don’t remember being there for a couple hours. I don’t remember coming home. The last thing I remember is when I woke up in the hospital.
Q: Would you refer to your survival as a medical miracle and, if so, why?
A: Without a question. They used a totally different procedure to bring me back. It was a new procedure and it worked. Everybody (from the paramedics to the cardiac team) had to do their job for me to be able to be here today.
Q: How did you feel when you woke up?
A: In light of the fact that I had no knowledge of what was going on before, and just to wake up in the hospital and say, “What am I doing here?” was quite an experience.
Q: How was it being reunited with the people who helped save your life?
A: That was a great experience because I was able to meet and thank all of the people that were involved in my recovery. It was really nice to see all the doctors and nurses and the paramedics and the police officer.
Q: How long did it take you to get back to a normal life?
A: I’m still in rehab. I go three times a week to Lutheran General for cardiac rehab. I’ll be doing that for 12 weeks. I feel good. I feel that they accomplished two major things: they brought me back to life and got my heart working and they saved my brain.
Q: Did this experience change your life?
A: My wife just jumped right in and said, “We definitely need to change our eating habits.” We enjoyed eating and eating a lot of the stuff you shouldn’t. I haven’t had a cup of coffee in two months. I only drink decaffeinated tea, (I eat) lots of fruits and vegetables and no salt.
Q: How long have you lived in Niles?
A: Fifteen years
Q: What is your occupation?
A: I own an accounting firm in Niles. That in itself is therapy, too. You don’t want to sit at home and watch TV all the time.
Q: You made a promise to your wife, Halina, a long time ago. Can you talk about that?
A: I love her very much. She’s a part of me. She’s very important to me. I told her, “I’ll always be here for you. Don’t worry about that.”