“That’s probably what saved my life:” Heart attack victim thankful for flight delay

MILWAUKEE -- For most people, a flight delay is a frustrating pain. But Paul Guibord will no longer be one of those people.

Paul Guibord

“The delay was enough to postpone the luggage to where it was backed up totally," Guibord recalled. "And that’s probably what saved my life.”

The 74-year-old Milwaukee native now lives in Arizona, but was on a trip back to Wisconsin on Thursday, July 13th.

“To this day, I don’t remember what happened to me in the airport," Guibord said.

Paul Guibord

His flight into General Mitchell International Airport was delayed, which meant he was still in the baggage claim area when he suffered a heart attack.

Dr. Louie Kostopoulos, a cardiovascular specialist at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center

“Bystanders on the scene started early CPR," said Dr. Louie Kostopoulos, a cardiovascular specialist at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center. "There was an automated external defibrillator that was used in a timely manner, bridging him up until the paramedics were capable of arriving.”

If Guibord had not been in a public place, with assistance and a defibrillator immediately available, his chances of survival would have been around 10%.

"He received a total of six shocks at the airport, and an additional eight while en route to St. Luke’s Medical Center" said Kostopoulos.

Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center

Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center is the only hospital in Wisconsin with an in-house cardiologist on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Dr. Louie Kostopoulos, a cardiovascular specialist at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center

“We rapidly deployed our troops here, and quickly got him to the cath lab, opened his artery," Kostopoulos recounted.

On Tuesday, July 25th, Guibord was discharged from Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center. He was headed back to Mitchell International Airport for what he hopes would be a far less eventful flight home.

“My life has been transformed by this wonderful surgeon and doctor right here," said Guibord.